Gregory Maqoma stages Cion – My View by Robyn Sassen


Robyn Sassen

A freelance arts writer since 1998, I fell in love with the theatre as a toddler, proved rubbish as a ballerina: my starring role was as Mrs Pussy in Noddy as a seven-year-old, and earned my stripes as an academic in Fine Arts and Art History, in subsequent years. I write for a range of online and print publications, including the Sunday Times, the Mail & Guardian and and was formerly the arts editor of the SA Jewish Report, a weekly newspaper with which I was associated for 16 years.
Robyn Sassen


MAKING magic: Cion in motion in an earlier iteration at the Festival de Marseille in France.

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PICTURE THE FAMOUS bit of Western classical musical composed in 1928 by Maurice Ravel and called Boléro translated into raw sobs. Picture a professional mourner at a cemetery and a cast of close to 40 in costumes magicked to life by Black Coffee. Picture it all against a backdrop of the Soweto Gospel Choir in its sheer physical resplendence. Gregory Maqoma’s Cion: Requiem for Ravel’s Bolero returns to Joburg Theatre for a ten-day season, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Maqoma’s company, Vuyani Dance Theatre.

And Cion remains the kind of crowd-pleaser like many other works by Maqoma that tosses in a whole range of potentially diverse ingredients, but yields something that is uniquely his. As a contemporary dance work, Cion touches all the bases as it stretches the oft self-indulgent or elitist fabric of the performance medium into something in which everyone can be swept up. The…

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