HOPE. It is the name of one of the most compelling dance works I have seen in a long time. It is also what I left the Playhouse Theatre with on the eve of Women’s Day last week.
As I scurried down Albany Grove to the car park I hardly noticed the usually menacing drunks and bums, and felt, for once, not the least bit threatened by them. My focus was still on that smoky spotlit stage where six beautiful young performers danced their hearts out to the haunting torch songs of Shannon Hope.
Perched behind her piano, with stiletto heels, black corset, red lips, tattooed wrist and razor-sharp lyrics, the Durban musician provided the soundtrack – all her own original material – to an inspiring and lyrical new work by the Flatfoot Dance Company.
All hail to the company’s founder, artistic director and choreographer Lliane Loots for a powerful and yet still gentle collaboration of music, dance and film that I would rush to see again and again – and again.
At the Playhouse Company’s SA Women’s Arts Festival last week I was flying solo. What seemed like a hardship at the time turned into an enriching and uplifting experience, one I certainly would not have had staying home to watch another reality TV show. I point no fingers because I am just as much to blame for being unadventurous, apathetic and lazy – promising to see a show or go to a concert and then not following through. We are one of the reasons our artists are under threat. Without an audience they cannot survive and many, sadly, have not.
Lliane Loots has spoken often about having to “dodge the bullet of our cultural and artistic extinction”, of how art does not “primarily serve to allow us to escape reality through the lights, the music and the dance”.
The parting shot goes to the beguiling songstress Shannon who sang: “Take every chance you can possible take, chase every dream you have ever believed in, treat every moment as if it’s the last. What are you waiting for?”
So go – to the theatre, a concert, live music venue or church hall performance. Just go.