Review by GRACE MOYA
We’ve all been there. If you’ve taken public transport, stood in a crowded café, or just been around strangers, the chances are high that you’ve eavesdropped on an interesting or random conversation. These floating exchanges in public spaces can either be indistinct or disconnected. Some of them set in motion a haunting feeling of déjà vu, making us reflect on the self and past experiences encountered.
I.N.C.O.K.O is a dance production directed by Thembani Buka, a local choreographer and creative director born and bred in Makhanda. This is a young production, performers in their early to mid-twenties confronting their traumas, reflecting on past experiences, and summoning their healing. The dancing was diverse and evocative, broad enough to see yourself, your trauma and that of others playing out on stage. It invites the audience to reflect on contemporary notions of how we experience the self as both agent and spectator.
Conversations pervade our every day. The internal and external chit-chatter of observing, planning, gossiping, and even conducting mental conversations with people we know or don’t know can’t be escaped. A lot of energy, time and attention is invested in discussing everything from the personal to the profound. This conversation goes on from the moment of waking until falling asleep.
The performance looked simple – slow slides, little hops, tilted shoulders, tiptoed walks – but their results were profound. One of the dancers, Mihlali Sipho-esihle Mbalentle Mpotulo, who occasionally steps up from the stage to perform, gradually weaves long phrases that become great coils of ineffable feeling. There is something incredibly moving about the way the freedom of the dance rubs against the sadness of the sound. Although the performers had a few choreographic missteps, their strong stage presence and dynamic yet graceful movement left the audience enthralled.