Intoxicating African Performers at Brighton Dome this Autumn
27 Aug 2019
From South African villages to the suburbs of Lagos, world-class contemporary dancers and singers are bringing African inspired performances to Brighton this October and November.
The iconic ballet Giselle has been fearlessly reimagined by South African artist Dada Masilo. Masilo tells the story of a village girl, dying of heartbreak and returning as a supernatural being, hell bent on revenge. Fusing traditional ballet, contemporary and traditional Tswana dance, the performers are powered by a musical score by composer Philip Miller that combines classical strings with African percussion and voice. Described by Dance magazine as ‘Bold, brazen, unapologetic and absolutely enrapturing.’ this is Giselle for the 21st century.
Commenting on her interpretation of the classic story, Masilo said:
‘It’s the challenge of looking at the ballet from a different perspective and dealing with issues that are relevant now. In these stories we are dealing with power struggles, war, greed, domestic violence. These are things I see every day. I’m revisiting the classical ballets to tackle these issues and to start a dialogue with people.’
Following acclaimed performances in London and Edinburgh International Festival, Kalakuta Republik takes inspiration from the life of legendary Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer and political activist Fela Kuti. Created by Burkina Faso born Serge Aimé Coulibaly with his French company Faso Dance Theatre, Kalakuta Republik depicts energetic scenes set to a remix of Kuti’s own music. Described as a 'thrillingly inventive act of choreographic rebellion', Faso Dance Theatre come to Brighton as part of FranceDanceUK, a nation-wide festival of inspiring French-based artists.
Tanya Peters, Director of Programming & Participation, Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival said:
‘Following Brighton Festival Guest Director Rokia Traoré’s vision for supporting African artists, we’re delighted to showcase these incredible contemporary performers who are pushing artistic boundaries. Their vibrant productions offer a fresh perspective on the world around us, from feminism to radical politics.’
Singers from across Africa make up the renowned London African Gospel Choir who perform their powerful vocal arrangement of Paul Simon’s award-winning album Graceland. The classic record used South African musicians, rhythms and melodies, paired with Simon’s uplifting lyrics, producing hits such as Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes and You Can Call Me Al.
Crystal Kassi from London African Gospel Choir added:
‘What makes us different is that we all come from different countries in the African Diaspora. We have people from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Kenya, Zaire, Ivory Coast, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Uganda and the Congo...You could say that this is a perpetuation of Paul Simon’s Graceland legacy, the way it has brought African nations together through culture.’