Ingoma is really a dance about the strong women in mining communities. He could portray them because he knew their lives intimately through his mother.
There are palpable parallels to Kafka’s Metamorphosis and similar dystopias voiced by the oppressed working classes, particularly in Thomas’s frantic sequence that speaks to transformation and exorcism.
I highly recommend going to see Ballet Black. It’s unique, contemporary and addresses modern day issues, humorous, yet at points sad, empowering and inspiring to all. Overall, it was an outstanding performance.
Ingoma is such a beautiful though poignant piece of work which has been well received by the appreciative audience. It raises awareness of South Africa’s historic milestone and the courageous stand the miners made to fight for their rights.
We try to explore these mine workers who lose their lives, for wanting to be paid better, and what the consequences are for those left alive. There’s a sense of continuity – the mine strike in 1946, and then many years later, in 2012, the same thing happens.
Within this company, ballet is finding new roots as dancers move seamlessly from pointes to deep plie and from a classical jeté into an articulated roll in an exciting evolution of the form.
[Washa] The piece is a triumphant fusion of classical and modern dance into the millennia-old African culture, which realises November’s aim to cause the inner fire of the dancers to suffuse through their audience.
Sayaka Ichikawa delivered a sensational performance as Matilda, from the sensual embrace with her lover – an erotic effect that was doubly impressive when they were lying on a “bed” assimilated from the side-slats of wooden chairs – to the panic of their discovery and on through her degrading humiliation. It was an exceptional dramatic tour de force.
..November’s truly unforgettable solo most epitomises resistance. To insistent rhythmic chanting, and with a Zulu warrior’s endurance and physical prowess, he relentlessly lunges into high kicks with raised arms, followed by stamps and jumps from squats, beating the ground with his feet, his body an explosive star.
You can almost feel the weight of hardship and injustice in November’s choreography, while the pas de deux for him and Cira Robinson brings the miners’ suffering and frustration into tender and intimate focus. It’s a visceral piece of dance and all the dancers shine.
Ballet Black’s Triple Bill is an outstanding exploration and celebration of varying aspects of African culture and history. The passion and commitment the company have for creating work that opens ballet up to more diverse and under-represented audiences is obvious.
…for November it is the very essence of his being, dancing till he has exorcised his anger and spent all his nervous energy—to the point of ritualistic collapse.
The applause at the end expressed not only our appreciation of the dancers’ technical mastery but also how deeply we were affected by what we had seen…Ballet Black were new to me: I will make sure I see them when next they come my way, and I urge you to do the same.
Rarely does such passion for a subject matter radiate from an entire ensemble as much as this.
A duet between one miner and his wife feels more poignant than any fairytale pas de deux, and every bit as graceful.
The five dancers – three women, two men, all in sharp acid-bright suits – are across such shifts in mood as they hip-sway into a cool dude groove or couple up in contrasting duets where one pair has snap and crackle in their bones, the other is smooch-close and slippery-sensual with it.
Ballet Black, however, is raw movement of the utmost standard. Its polish comes from capable dancers; its aesthetic shifts from natural dusk to a blaze of tone in what is a remarkable evening, redefining the rules of ballet.
Through it all, though, the humanity, the aching sense of everyday grind, of struggle, of fight and exhaustion, is expressed with great depth of emotion by the whole company. The ensemble scenes are explosive, energetic but also aching in their sense of loss.
Taut drama: Ballet Black in The Suit and Ingoma… It ends with a sense of togetherness. As sweat pours from the dancers’ bodies, the message is that ‘we will not be beaten’. A fine company with a fine message.
This is ballet that is so imaginative, fresh and alive, I would encourage people who think they don’t like dance to go and see it. People who do love dance won’t need any encouragement. They will adore it all the more.