Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Bolero in Artscape and Vrystaat Kunstefees


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“CION: Requiem of Ravel’s Bolero” choreographed by Gregory Maqoma in collaboration with the Market Theatre and inspired by Zakes Mda with choral score by Nhlanhla Mahlangu and Xolisiwe Bongwana. Costumes by BlackCofee’s Jacques van der Watt and performed by Vuyani Dance Company.
Photograph: John Hogg

Since its premiere at The Market Theatre (Co-producers of the piece) on Africa day in 2017, Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Bolero will embark on a local tour to Artscape Theatre in Cape Town from 6 July – 7 July 2018 (Friday 6 July at 20:00, Saturday 7 July at 14:00 and 20:00) and Vrystaat Kunstefees on Monday 9 July at 19:30. The lead, Toloki will be performed by Vuyani’s award-winning Lulu Mlangeni

CION , Market Theatre, 2017, image: ©Siphosihle Mkhwanazi

who is no stranger to international stages.

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This production is in line with Vuyani Dance Theatre’s 2020 Creative Vision of cultivating the creative sector and to add value to the creative economy at this very challenging economic time facing the arts by collaborating with local and international theatres and festivals. Maqoma brings to the fore the importance of works like these to be a precursor to the demise of humanity, an opportunity to mourn our past and present.

The effects of migration, war in the continent and slavery are embodied in the characters that author Zakes Mda pens with detail in his books ‘Ways of Dying’ and ‘Cion’ focusing on the character Toloki, the professional mourner at the time of South Africa’s new democracy.

CION , Market Theatre, 2017, image: ©Siphosihle Mkhwanazi

The cast made up of dancers and musicians and it weaves through the landscape of death symbolized by graveyards and a black canvas backdrop superbly designed by Maqoma’s long-time stage and lighting designer Oliver Hauser.

Mannie Mannim, a multi-award-winning lighting designer and theatre producer who brings to the production over 50 years of experience intricately and cleverly designed the lighting to be emotionally searing for audiences.

Maqoma’s collaborative skill has always produced multifaceted approach to music, design, text and movement, extending the South African vocabulary, particularly in Cion with the use of Isicathamiya led by 4 voices who interpret Maurice Ravel’s Bolero composition with a fresh take, layered in language and rhythm, composed by Nhlanhla Mahlangu with additional compositions by Xolisile Bongwane who becomes the voice of Toloki, like a shadow in the dark with his haunting voice.

CION , Market Theatre, 2017, image: ©Siphosihle Mkhwanazi

Zakes Mda says, “I fell in love with Maqoma’s work when he was still a student and he composed and choreographed an elaborate piece inspired by some harrowing historical events. After the show I told Adrienne Sichel, a foremost dance critic of the day, that this young man will take South African dance to new international heights. He has since proved me right. I have followed and been highly inspired by his work which has also bedazzled the world. My family and I have driven for a day and a night across the states of America just to watch a piece like Exit/Exist, the most awe-inspiration performance I’ve seen in my life. In turn, that piece has inspired a lot of my painting. I’m therefore greatly honoured that he has found inspiration from my novels and the characters that I’ve created to come up with this magical and soaring piece.”

Tickets available at Computicket

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