CONCEPT & CHOREOGRAPHY:
THE MESMERIZING ISENYUSO RETURNS TO THE MARKET THEATRE
After a successful premiere at the Kucheza Afrika Festival in April of 2022 and The Soweto Theatre, Naledi Award Nominee Thami Tshabalala returns his dance offering in January 2023 at the Ramolao Makhene Theatre from 27 till 28 January 2023.
Tshabalala has proved to be a tour de force, since matriculating from the National School of the Arts in 2009 and attaining a National Diploma in Dance/Choreography from the Tshwane University of Technology in 2013, he has been afforded tremendous opportunities to choreograph and dance for some of the industry’s top theatre and dance doyens like Kelsey Middleton, Willie Venter and Dada Masilo to name a few.
After tremendous success of his first choreographed solo- work, ‘Simon’, which received critical acclaim at the relaunch of the Dance Umbrella in 2019 and at several dance national festivals like the PACE Festival in Bloemfontein and the Solo & Duet Festival at the Soweto Theatre, it was nominated in the Best Contemporary/Ballet Production 2019 category at the Naledi Theatre Awards 2020.
ISENYUSO details the injustice, propaganda and toxic representation implicated upon the African tale. Told through the lens of a contemporary queer man of colour, supported by history the work further explores issues of spirituality, lineage and impact caused by Christianity and missionaries on the African culture.
Isenyuso a noun derived from isiZulu language: meaning ASCENSION.
The work is inspired by the well- known African novel titled ‘Things Fall Apart’ by acclaimed Nigerian author Chinua Achebe published in 1958 chronicling the life of Okonkwo, an Igbo man and local wrestling champion in the fictional clan of Umuofia. He was empowered by the notion of superiority and justice, driven to reclaim the toxic representation of the African diaspora and retain dignity.
With an extensive career in the performing arts as a dancer and choreographer- he has graced home ground stages co-choreographing SINS, NO AIR which are Standard Bank Ovation award winning works at National Arts Festival with the acclaimed theatre practioner and artistic director of Kmad Dance Company-Kelsey Middleton. He further flourished with the incomparable Dada Masilo in New York, Italy, Singapore, Paris and Sweden to name a few with her re-imagination of Swan Lake and Giselle and The Sacrifice which premiered in Vienna in August of 2021.
‘I was thrilled, anxious and yet very driven to re-stage my work again’ says Tshabalala. As a producer and storyteller of my time, predominantly post the peak of the pandemic I have yearned to heal, reflect and restart from a place of understanding, acknowledgement and desire to fulfil the purpose of being an artist and grab all opportunities that come my way and create opportunities for myself. KNOCK ON THOSE DOORS. Always seeking platforms to display me- Me is my Art. Global narratives told through the lens of the African child.’
Says Tshabalala ‘Others will kneel for answers, others will help themselves for breakthroughs. Either way we’re not stepping on toes. Let us hand over an untainted baton!
‘A pandemic that’s on its knees begging for acknowledgement in a world that guarantees life through sacrificing the other. Unpacking this crippling and barring suitcase unroots the tainted crop that has partially terminated the other story.
A war to be collectively combated’
Watch Isenyuso at the Market Theatre-Ramolao Makhene Theatre on the 27th of January and the 28th. Both shows start at 19:30. Tickets are R150 and can be purchased through Webtickets or at Pick n Pay.
Choreographer: Thamsanqa ‘Thami’ Tshabalala
Performers: Thamsanqa Tshabalala & Khaya Ndlovu
Technical Director: Wilhelm Disbergen
Music Composition: Siya ‘Umlilo’ Ngcobo’ & Nik Sakellarides
Art Work: Nicholas de Vries- Original image by Graham de Lacy
Follow Thami Tshabalala on all Social Media platforms.
For any further queries and interviews, please contact Thami on 066 248 6335 or via email on firstname.lastname@example.org