What happens to the individual in a bullish and volatile global economy? This question is explored in I Hit the Ground Running, a contemporary dance production that is the first of a three-year artistic collaboration between Sweden's Scenkonst Sörmland and Cape Town's Baxter Theatre Centre.
"The echoing theme for me is the idea that the average citizen lives either on the periphery or the outside of the economic growth spiral," explained director and choreographer Ananda Fuchs. "With an ever-increasing financial pressure on human beings today, the emergence of a very fragile and often illusive sense of belonging seems to have been created. We hit the ground running until we cannot keep up any more. It is, quite simply, the human response to the economic monstrosity."
The five South African dancers - sensational in every sense of the word - are accompanied by five equally talented Swedish musicians, selected for their extensive experience working with contemporary chamber music. "The sound images are merely a reflection of the emotions, which came from [the unemployed young adults] who shared their innermost feelings and thoughts on the subject of economic growth," said composer Tebogo Monnakgotla.
A passionate performance can be enough
Dance is still one of the genres I don't quite "get" and this production was a reminder of that. If it weren't for the pre-reading, I would have thought I'd walked into a Stanley Kubrick ballet adaptation of The Matrix, complete with a score by Stravinsky or Bartók and an opening scene that, for some reason, made me think of René Magritte's The Son of Man.
But it wasn't long before the overarching metaphor - the anxiety to conform to a competitive world and the shame that arises when we do - became clear. More than that, I Hit the Ground Running was a reminder that you don't necessarily have to understand something to find it fascinating from start to end; a passionate performance can be enough.I Hit the Ground Running is at Cape Town's Baxter Theatre until 7 September. Tickets are available from Computicket.Photography by Oscar o' Ryan