Via Katlehong Dance presents a bold condemnation of corruption

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Via Kanana | Via Katlehong Dance | Digidance | February 16 – March 16  

“Kanana” means the promised land that never comes in the Sotho language. Choreographer Gregory Magoma has created a bold, pulsing condemnation of corruption fusing pantsula, step, and gumboot to comment on the lack of change in South Africa since apartheid.

Shadows of eight dancers tower over the stage as they pulse to base heavy music. In a cluster of bodies, they roil and roll through their bodies until peeling away to each side. Evoking the energy of busy city streets, they walk in a scattered pattern and then break into step inspired choreography with fast, fancy footwork. Effortlessly smooth and in synch, the group works together impressively, and their energy is infectious.

One of the dancers speaks into a microphone, talking about her naïve belief that the next generation would be better. But, she says, it’s clear that the younger generation is even more dangerous to Africa because they are waiting to be thieves. “We must ask ourselves, as Africans, what it is that we must do […] what we must do is create a new African, an African who believes that there is honesty, and that can only be done if we punish the corrupt.” As she speaks, the others move slowly, calmly interpreting her words.

Another highlight is a gumboot sequence, the dancers in their Converse hightops bouncing off the stage surface like heavy rain. Moving into a hip hop and breaking inspired scene the group once again shows off their polished synchronized style amidst stomping, vocalizations, and impressive flips. A tender duet shows off their technical and emotional range, and a scene with newspapers leads to the finale with a flourish.

With never a dull moment, Via Kanana rolls along like an unstoppable train and these dancers are relentlessly energetic. Magoma’s choreography and anti-corruption message are powerful anchors that hold everything together and never let go of our attention.  

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