With Remix Dance Company at the Baxter, any body can dance
Leading South African contemporary integrated dance initiative, the award-winning Remix Dance Company, celebrates its 10th anniversary and its new home at the Baxter Theatre Centre with five performances only of a brand new production, Lovaffair, from March 30 until April 3 at 8pm.
This has been made possible through the generous investment of philanthropic international businessman, Roger Jungblut, CEO of Youngblood Culture Development Pty Ltd, better known as Youngblood.
The five-member, full-time company comprises Malcolm Black, Lee-anne Meyer, Nadine Mckenzie, Andile Vellem and Marlin Zoutman. They are joined by actor, director and composer Bongile Mantsai and 2008 Fleur du Cap Best Actress winner Chuma Sopotela. Ina Wichterich-Mogane is the company dance teacher and the director of Lovaffair, with Nadine Mckenzie as the assistant to the director, and choreography is by the company.
Twenty-year-old Mckenzie, who is a performer using a wheelchair, has been crucial to the creation of Lovaffair and was due to perform in the new work but instead has had to withdraw due to surgery.
The company was founded and directed in 2000 by Nicola Visser and was only formalised as Remix Dance Project Trust in August 2001 with Malcolm Black. The aim was to bring together more and more differently-abled performers onto South African stages and to develop integrated dance locally.
“It is always a challenge to work with any group and try to get the best out of myself and the dancers,” says Wichterich-Mogane, who has worked with the company before. In 2008 she directed and choreographed the highly acclaimed BeautyFull, which was staged again last year in collaboration with Artscape and Jazzart.
She continues, “My approach is to walk into a rehearsal room without preconceived ideas, so when I start working I am able to do so afresh, allowing me the space to enhance and highlight what is really already there. There are some things which are best said with words and others with movement and gestures. Trying to find it is the hard part. It is both beautiful and scary. This is the journey of Lovaffair.”
This year the Remix Dance Company celebrates a decade of groundbreaking work and this latest production is no exception. The production combines differently-abled dancers as well as actors and gives further meaning and expression to the term integrated dance. Artistic Director Malcolm Black explains, “Firstly the cast is so diverse, then there is diversity of bodies and styles and then we have two actors joining us. We are used to diversity but in this regard where we combine dance and drama we have less experience. So it is equally exciting and challenging.”
Sopotela and Mantsai, both cast members of the multiple award-winning Karoo Moose and Aardklop Best Actor award-winners for their performances, have been brought on board to give the production another dimension.
A further innovation is that the backstage area of the Baxter’s Theatre will be converted into a performance space called Flipside, using scaffolding to create a 216-seater venue specifically for this production.
Remix explores and develops dance which values the honesty and integrity of the body. Emphasis is placed on a body-centred technical training which also listens, at a deep level, to what each body is saying as it moves; the story of the person who is moving and the stories of the society in which it is moving. It recognises that each person’s body holds their personal as well as their social history. This is the starting point for all education and performance work: the body: all bodies.
In 2002 the company won the prestigious Arts and Culture Trust Award for the Cultural Development Project of the Year in recognition of its work in education and performance. In 2006 the company won the Western Cape Cultural Commission Award for its Outstanding Contribution to Disability and the Arts.
As the first and one of the longest-standing integrated dance company in the country, Remix seeks, through its work, to simultaneously entertain, educate and challenge attitudes and policies in the human rights area with programmes of solid artistic integrity and excellence. In particular, social and cultural attitudes towards dance, gender and disability within the dance sector are tackled. Great emphasis is placed on audience development in the disabled communities where transport is difficult and where a culture of watching theatre and dance should still be developed in all South African sectors. Remix continues to pioneer innovative productions and collaborations.
Lovaffair previews at Flipside at the Baxter on Tuesday, 30 March, opens Wednesday 31 March and runs for five performances only until Easter Saturday, 3 April at 8pm. There is a matinee on the Saturday at 2pm. Booking is through Computicket on 083 915 8000, online at www.computicket.co.za or at any Shoprite Checkers outlet countrywide. For discounted block, schools or corporate bookings, charities and fundraisers, contact Sharon on 021 680 3962 or Carmen on 021 680 3993 during office hours. Ticket prices range from R50 (for preview and opening) to R95 (Thursday and Saturday).
Press release for Remix – Lovaffair March 2010.pdf