CION (info)

Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Bolero returns to Johannesburg

Vuyani Dance Theatre’s Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Bolero has returned to Johannesburg for a eight day season at The Mandela at Joburg Theatre from 19 June until 27 June 2020 accompanied by the Soweto Gospel Choir.

With his contemporary African dance company, Gregory Maqoma shares an innovative, visually stunning full-length work that brings literature to life. For this season at The Mandela at Joburg Theatre, the production has twenty dancers and nineteen musicians on stage in an amplified production. In Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Boléro, Maqoma draws inspiration from creations by two artists: the character Toloki in South African author Zakes Mda’s novel Cion, and music from French composer Maurice Ravel’s Boléro.

In a review of Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Bolero at the Marseille Festival, Helmet Vogt writes, “The dance of the Vuyani Dance Theatre is powerful and generous. The sets offer pulsations like cries in a ceaseless march, on the spot, which seems to cross Africa. This march is the home port of the show, the place where we come back, like the mythical notes of Ravel. Exile and colonization present themselves to us in the dance gestures, like two combatants dueling. The excellent dancers, from different generations and different bodies form a homogeneity which often appears to support hip-hop colour solos where the body is jerky, riddled with stories. The steps are back or front offering hip agility bluffing.
The allegories are numerous in this show with very classic form. Slavery, dictatorship, the oppression of Africans, everything is symbolized by a voracious dance that sometimes lets the upper body move on supports screwed to the ground. The torsos extended by the arms undulate in a physical reference to the theme of the Bolero.”

The music in Cion is delivered in stirring fashion by an isicathamiya troupe and the percussive voices of Vuyani dancers, under the musical direction of Xolisile Bongwana and Nhlanhla Mahlangu. Maqoma’s use of Ravel’s Bolero serves as a requiem to the departed souls while offering an opportunity to heal.

“The world has changed from what we imagined it to be; we are all victims clouded by fear. This work stands against that dark cloud and brings us light and hope that humanity still exists, even in our darkest times”, says Gregory Maqoma, the artistic director of Vuyani Dance Theatre.

“Death is a universal rite of passage, and the universe of greed, power and religion has led us to be professional mourners who transform the horror of death and the pain of mourning into a narrative without feeling for life,” he adds.

After gracing the stages of numerous European festivals, Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Bolero returns to Johannesburg audiences for a ten day season. A rousing dance theatre work that stands for hope against the darkness

Production details:
Conceived and choreographed by : Gregory Maqoma
Dancers : Vuyani Dance Theatre
Movement analyst/dramaturge : Gladys Agulhas
Musical and vocal directors : Nhlanhla Mahlangu assisted by Xolisile
: Bongwana and Sibusiso Shozi
Set design : Oliver Hauser
Original Lighting design : Mannie Manim
Cion Amplified Lighting design : Oliver Hauser
Sound Design : Ntuthuko Mbuyazi

For further information, interviews and images, contact:
Siyandiswa Dokoda
011 838 7666 or 0712616625