Scene It: Brilliant showcase of the art of movement at the 12th Baxter Dance Festival

October 14, 2016

If you are in the mood to be inspired by something truly beautiful, then head on over to the 12th Baxter Dance Festival, and see an array of dance forms and extreme talent onstage.


With the programme mixing it up in performance style and selection every evening until Saturday 15 October, you are sure to find a performance piece that delights in this showcase of movement put together by artistic director Nicolette Moses.

Upon arrival you are already treated to a 30 minute foyer performance titled Seesaw. It explores the enjoyment of dancing and sets the perfect theatre mood for a great evening!


The first performance I saw upon taking my Baxter Theatre seat on the night of 10 October 2015, was Living Water choreographed by Saskia Wicomb. Visually this piece is absolutely captivating, bring to stage everything from a stilt-walker to mesmerising contemporary dancers. This piece is both ephemeral and ethereal, and I truly enjoyed the ocean inspired vision of Wicomb.


I was also absolutely delighted to see one of my favourite dancers performing in Free To Be Me choreographed by Grant van Ster and Shaun Oelf. A tip from me, if you ever see Yaseen Manual's name on a programme, buy a ticket immediately. As a dancer he has amazing technique and his sense of control in the execution of his movements shout talent. At no stage though does the control compromise his fluidity in the execution of the movements. It is always a great privilege to see him perform. In this piece, he is joined by a troupe of equally amazing dancers as part of the Figure of Eight Dance Collective. I found their contemporary dance expression, an exploration of the beauty of being free, absolutely captivating. A highlight on the evening.


After 9, choreographed by Kirvan Fortuin, first premiered at the Compagnietheatre in Amsterdam April this year and is now entertaining audiences as part of the Baxter Dance Festival. The skillful use of light in this piece emphasises not only movement but also emotion which has a subtle violent undertone. Even though it may leave you feeling restless in reaction to the emotive power it brings to stage (which is a good thing), you will also be able to appreciate the top class execution of the complex movements of the word class duets.


The commissioned work for this year is In C, choreographed by Louise Coetzer. Although not my personal favourite, the technique and skill showcased atr exquisite and I truly loved the innovative use of the techno-type sound of two laptops as accompaniment. I personally found the piece to be a bit too repetitive in movement towards the end. I can however see the rasionale for that expression choice, this piece being inspired by the minimalist music style of Terry Riley's landmark composition In C. As a recreation of Riley's vision through the combined expression of sound and motion the concept informing the piece makes sense. Even though it did not speak to me personally, there were definitely members of the audience that found it very beautifully moving.


The true showstopper of the evening without a doubt was Ukwakha choreographed by Sbonakalison Ndaba. An explosive dance sensation, that brought the audience to their feet with a standing ovation as appreciative response to their amazingly powerful expression of togetherness through dance story-telling. The energy of their performance reverberated through the theatre. I literally had goosebumps. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for any future performances by the Indoni Dance, Arts and Leadership Academy. Such talent needs to be supported!


The standard of this year's Baxter Dance Festival is very high indeed, and their is no lack of talent, creative expression or innovative choreography. You will definitely find a performance that resonates with you. Book your tickets without delay at Computicket.



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