Pulsing with rhythmic energy, the seven dancers and single musician of Via Katlehong Dance have teamed up with contemporary choreographer Gregory Maqoma for Via Kanana, examining corruption in South Africa and asking wider questions about those in power and the unfulfilled promises made in the transition to democracy. Careening from the mundane to the metaphorical, this production takes its inspiration from South Africa itself, evoking a new promised land that never arrives (Kanana in the Sotho language) which people must rise up and seek for themselves.
Under South Africa’s apartheid regime, black rural populations were displaced to the townships that ring big cities. In these ghettos, surrounded by unemployment and crime, Pantsula was born as a dance of protest. Originally just a dance, it’s now a lifestyle, covering fashion, music, and language. Via Katlehong Dance, founded in 1992, combines pantsula, tap dance, step, and gumboot—a miners’ dance based on handstrokes on the thighs and calves—into a distinctly South African choreographic language that celebrates the urban and calls for positive change.
Choreographer Gregory Maqoma is one of the most talented artists of South Africa’s new generation. As a dancer, teacher, and choreographer, Maqoma’s work is vibrant and elegant, earning him numerous awards for choreography and for elevating South African culture.