Swiss Booty Shakeby Nolan Stevens / 10.05.2011
Contemporary dance – We’ve seen it in movies like Save the Last Dance and on TV shows like So You Think You Can Dance. Its not quite Jika ma Jika – but then again what the fuck is? It hasn’t got as serious a rep as Ballet nor is it given as much respect and street cred as breakdancing. Contemporary dance lies somewhere in between, and fuses disciplines from all kinds of dance forms. Put simply it’s the mix-masala mongrel pit bull of the dance litter.
I recently had a chance to check out the last performance by a Swiss contemporary dance duo cryptically called CIE 7273 at the WITS. These 7273 Swiss cats had just toured Southern Africa, hosting workshops, performing and getting some rave reviews by those in the dance industry. So naturally I decided to give it a check, but I was apprehensive that this might be another one of those times where overseas cats come down to “show us poor uncultured Africans how its done?”
Instead, what I saw in that short thirty minute show left me mind boggled and wanting more. For a show that was made up solely of Mozambican bassist Nelson Miranda and Swiss dancer Lawrence Yadi, the small audience was fixed on the performance which had no background music and no props other then the phat baselines’ that Miranda dished out. The whole thing was an exercise in minimalism: barely any additional lighting other then a single soft spot illuminating the pair, who were dressed just as minimally in black pants and tees. Yadi was in constant dialogue with the bass guitar as he twisted, turned and contorted his body. I never thought that something so simple could engage my attention so completely. And while I’m still not sure how I feel about contemporary dance, this was just incredible.