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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.