A new African Dance Theatre, centrally located in Cape Town's CBD at 44 Long Street, opened recently and will feature an hour-long show, which will be performed perform twice nightly at 6pm and 9pm Monday to Saturday.
The show takes you on an African musical journey through time. You are transported back to the days of powerful warriors setting out to battle to the beat of African drums. Then you move forward in time to the industrial era with the thunderous gumboot dance. The 1940s and 50s was turbulent in South Africa, but in the jazz halls of Sophiatown the indomitable spirit of a nation was evident in the kwela dance. The show ends with the vibrant urban youths of today getting down to pantsula to kwaaito club tracks. The show is peppered with well-loved songs,such as: We Are Growing, The Lions Sleeps Tonight, Shosholoza, Patta Patta, Hakuna Matata and more.
The African Dance Theatre is owned by Tania Garny and Debbie Bird. Garny's background as a tour guide inspired her to conceptualise a theatre show that she knew tourists to Cape Town would love. She said that, as a guide, there was nothing that she could offer to tourists wanting to enjoy a slice of unique South African culture in the evenings. So she approached Bird, who has been involved in events and cultural development for 17 years. Together they worked to develop this unique concept.The show can be transported
Bird said that the theatre can seat up to 172 people and that they are open to adding extra shows, teambuilding or workshops for private bookings. The entire show can be transported, including themed decor and catering to other venues of any client's choice for larger groups than the theatre can accommodate.
The nine-member marimba and brass band and 12-member dance troupe are choreographed by UCT-trained dance-and-movement teacher and performer, Silumko Kokoyana. The project co-ordinator Henry Jeane hails from Langa and has been involved in cultural development for the past 25 years. He is a music teacher and teaches at many schools around Cape Town.
The original Space Theatre was founded in 1972 and quickly established itself as a defiantly non-racial venue, actively opposing the apartheid laws of the time. The first fringe theatre in the country, it mounted close on 300 productions, pioneering the work of Athol Fugard, John Kani, Winston Ntshona, Pieter-Dirk Uys and Fatima Dike. It is fitting that The African Dance Theatre joins the ranks of these theatre legends to celebrate the realisation of what they were fighting for. Every member of the cast and crew are partners in the business, each owning a share. The theatre will offer full-time employment for over 36 members. The ongoing training of new performers will ensure that The African Dance Theatre can accommodate requests for external events and functions. This will offer even more opportunities for training and job creation.
The theatre is centrally situated on Long Street in the Cape Town CBD, which means easy access to an eclectic variety of restaurants to offer a cultural dinner theatre option. Tickets for the show are R160 and can be booked online via www.webtickets.co.za
or are available at the theatre from 10am each day. Further information is available on the website www.theafricandancetheatre.co.za