GALOOME SHOPANE Telling stories though their body movements is food for the soul for these young dance professionals who have taken the risk to feed themselves through dance and nothing else.
This group of ten dancers has recently performed in Harare, Zimbabwe, for the International Protest Arts Festival or Protest Arts International Festival (PAIF).
According to aakrititalkart.com, the festival was launched in 2009 to highlight, reproduce and celebrate the contribution of protest arts to people-driven processes in international societies.
The festival is a three-day event that brings together more than 1500 protest artists, civil society, state actors and lay citizens who acknowledge that arts and culture are the most powerful vehicles of transmitting values or ideologies.
PAIF combines a symposium that culminates into workshops and performances cutting across all arts genres presented to and by people from all over the world.
These dancers hail from all across the province and function under the Performing Arts Centre of the Free State(PACOFS).
The dancers got the opportunity to be part of this dance crew earlier this year through the ‘Tsoho (awakening) Community International Festival’ where groups shared the stage with national young artists from the Northern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Lesotho and Zimbabwe. Extensive workshops were also the cherry on top, contributing to the success of the festival.
The movement artists have wowed audiences at the Market Theatre Lab in Gauteng and the Stable Theatre in KZN amongst many others, receiving raving reviews and making Free State shine.
They then entered best musical competition by the State Theatre and they were selected for the finals to be held in December.
One of the dancers, Patrick Mdlalose, who has been dancing for seven years says dancing transcends him to a whole new, other level.
“Before I get on stage I go into a trance, when I get up it’s no longer about me, it’s about what is happening inside me, and it coming out. I am in a space, a zone that I’m comfortable in, where I don’t even see anybody else.”
The group’s choreographer, Reggie Danster, says there are not that many opportunities for dancers in the province. “I have a vision that there will be a proper dance institution for the Free State.”
“Working with the dancers is a fantastic journey and we have built a strong family bond,” says Danster.
The dancers’ names are: Eutychia Rakaki, Thabo Lecoko, Teboho Shuping, Patrick Mdlalose, Pertunia Bochedi, Dimakatso Bilibise, Pelenomi Kalakong, Katleho Lekhula, Motlatsi Khotle and Thabang Nsizwane.