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SCENE IT: Gregory Maqoma’s CION: REQUIEM OF RAVEL’S BOLERO a mesmerising masterpiece

Barbara Loots


Gregory Maqoma’s exquisite CION: REQUIEM OF RAVEL’S BOLERO, is currently onstage at the Baxter Theatre until 23 March 2024. Maqoma describes it as “a lament, a requiem required to awaken a part of us, the connection to the departed souls”. It is that and so much more.

CION: REQUIEM OF RAVEL’S BOLERO – conceived and choreographed by the internationally renowned, Gregory Vuyani Maqoma and performed by the Vuyani Dance Theatre – graced international stages with much praise and great success. Now Maqoma brings his show home for local audience to revel in its magnificence. On opening night, the audience leaped to their feet as one, and rightly so, because this is not just another great movement piece:

CION: REQUIEM OF RAVEL’S BOLERO takes the bar of excellence and catapults it through the stratosphere. It sees dramatic moments intertwined with humour, but more importantly, with heart. Talent overflows in this production. Every member of the company, whether dancer or singer, gives a mesmerising performance. If I could immerse my theatre-soul in CION: REQUIEM OF RAVEL’S BOLERO night after night I would; my soul would be better for it.

Maqoma has found a way to merge the traditional with the modern in an emotionally charged way that accentuates every beautifully conceptualised and considered moment, as the production explores the concept of a shared burden of grief.

Set in a graveyard, Mannie Manim’s lighting design adds yet another beautiful layer to this already exceptional staging, and merges flawlessly with the set design by Oliver Hauser and the sound design of Ntuthuko Mbuyazi. If there isn’t a cast recording capturing the magic of musicians S’busiso Shozi, Thabang Mkwanazi, Simphiwe Bonongo, and Sipho Mhlanga yet, this is a missed opportunity; I would pay good money to own this memory captured in music and would listen to it on repeat.

Here music meets movement in a way that can only be appreciated if experienced in person. It elicits an array of intense emotions, masterfully interpreted by the cast, who all deserve mention and rapturous applause: Otto Nhlapo, Roseline Wilkens, Katleho Lekhula, Thabang Mdlalose, Tshepo Molusi, Noko Moeketsi, Nathan Botha, Monica Magoro, and Gilbert Goliath, bravo!

Experiencing CION: REQUIEM OF RAVEL’S BOLERO is the best hour I have spent in the theatre in very long time. It’s an alluring, seductive medley of human emotions that I wish every person could experience. I wish I had more powerful words with which to communicate this sentiment, it’s that brilliant.

You only have two days left to see CION: REQUIEM OF RAVEL’S BOLERO at the Baxter Theatre. Gift yourself this theatrical experience, and go see it before the very short run ends on 23 March 2024. Tickets can be booked online through Webtickets – do so now!



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