SURVIVE. Triple Bill: Wasteland choreographed by Dane Hurst. In Body as One choreographers: Grant van Ster, Shaun Oelf. Survive choreographers: Ciara Baldwin and Nathan Bartman. Dancers: Abigail Overmeyer, Chesney Stanfield, Emile Petersen, Keagan Damons, Lisakhanya Nongqongqo, Philkolwethu Luke, Rian Jansen, Savannah Petrus. Presented by Jazzart Dance Theatre. At Artscape Theatre.

Of all the qualities required to survive, vital is the will to do so. Remember seriously injured mountaineer Joe Stephenson who, in the Peruvian Andes, crawled without help to safety; Holocaust survivor Otto Frank, and Phoenix – Greek mythology’s mystical bird rising from fire to fly again.

Since Jazzart’s former artistic director Alfred Hinkel relocated to Okiep in 2010, there have been numerous changes in Jazzart’s leadership. Covid’s lockdown brought additional difficulties, to the extent questions concerning Jazzart’s survival were mooted.

But somehow, the will to keep Jazzart alive survived. And now, under Dane Hurst’s dynamic artistic direction, Jazzart, like Phoenix has risen to take flight with their triple bill Survive.

First item was Hurst’s own work Wasteland. Set to Bobby Krilic – The Hazan Cloak, Wasteland dealt with our ‘insatiable appetite and fascination with clothing and fashion and society’s preoccupation with the acquisition of consumer goods’  Performed by four female and four male dancers, they modelled clothing, turning, twisting this way and that, before tossing it away. Splurging bowls of water, Wasteland showcased society’s uncaring attitude towards our environment’s survival.

Backing their new piece In Body As One, Grant van Ster and Shaun Oelf used Infra 1 by Max Richter, and Infarkt-Anenzephalia Monument by Royskopp & Robyn for a  ‘scenic route of self-discovery.’ As eight dancers rushed around, and glided to an abrupt stop, in 17 minutes, the intent was to show humans can’t survive alone.

Survive, choreographed by Ciara Baldwin and Nathan Bartam, used the same dancers, to explore the mindset of what it takes to survive by asking – can peace only be obtained as we passage from this life to the next?

Without the advantage of sets and/or dialogue or the benefit of handy programme notes, the choreographers subject choices were challenging to relate to an audience only through movement.

However, by utilizing gobos, splendid lighting effects, as well as drawing upon these well-trained dancers’ energy, enthusiasm and vitality, each choreographer, in their individual vocabulary, successfully brought originality to steps, lifts and pulsating movement.

Thereby giving fans an inkling of what Jazzart’s exciting future holds under Dane Hurst’s artistic directorship.

What: Jazzart Dance Theatre Survive
Where: Artscape Theatre Cape Town
When: 22 – 24 September 2022


This article was originally published by Weekend Special on September 28, 2022, and has been reposted with permission. To read the original article, click here.

This post was written by the author in their personal capacity.The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of The Theatre Times, their staff or collaborators.

This post was written by Sheila Chisholm.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.