Deeply Rooted Dance Theater Comes to Brooklyn!
INDUMBA, refers to an African healing hut. As stated in the program, choreographer Fana Tshabalala originally created this piece to “illuminate the perpetual impact of unresolved apartheid politics in his native South Africa”. Now, for its New York premiere, Chicago’s Deeply Rooted Dance Theater brings the palpable INDUMBA to Brooklyn Academy of Music.
The stage at BAM Fisher is marked out in white tape. Eight small stools perch on the outside of the square, with a single dancer sitting center. The other seven dancers are lying face down, completely still. They begin to move - subtly, in their own unique patterns, almost undetectable at first. This permeating image of stillness doesn’t last long - as the piece quickly builds into a series of frenetic solos and duets. Expressive and provocative, we feel like we are witnessing struggle, purging and catharsis all told through the language of dance. It is universal, and wow, is it intense. The dancers are athletic, vulnerable and possessing of remarkable endurance. The “hut” is all at once a sacred space and a wrestling ring.
A stand out moment for this writer is a solo midway through the piece. The relentless soundscape cuts out and in the silence we can hear the male dancer breathe. He moves with a bird-like precision, contrasting smooth and staccato movements. This beautifully stylized moment is further heightened when he begins to speak to himself. It feels like we are watching somebody in great fear reassure himself through meditation. It is a striking moment which grows into a compelling duet with a female dancer.
Structurally, the piece leans heavily on the journey of the individual or pair. This writer feels such relief when they finally come together to dance and we find comfort in a sense of community, however fleeting.
Yes, this is a dance piece. But more than that, it is truly an experience. And though INDUMBA is not always easy to watch, it is always powerful.
Dominique Atwood, Pierre Clark, Shanna Cruzat, Joshua L. Ishmon, Rebekah Kuczma, Marlayna Locklear, William Roberson and Anthony Williams
Choreography: Fana Tshabalala
Music: Nicholas Aphane
Costume Design: Alex Gordon
Lighting Design: Sarah Lackner
All photos by Ken Carl
Learn more about dance by seeing dance through dancers eyes in the Picture This Post series, “Choreographers’ Eyes - Dancers Explain Dance”. Watch this video preview of the story here—
Allison Plamondon is a choreographer, director, teacher and performer originally from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Choreography highlights include the Oscar-winning short film, Curfew , Goblin Market at 59E59 Theaters and direction/choreography/conception for The Tchaikovsky Vignettes at HB Studio. An avid teacher, Allison has taught at Broadway Dance Center, Abrons Arts Center and is currently on the faculty at Tom Todoroff Acting Conservatory. Performance highlights include Tap City-the Main Event, Trying at Cape May Stage and performing with Phish at Madison Square Garden. Directors Lab West ‘17, Uta Hagen Teacher Training, NYFA immigrant artist fellow, SDCF Observership with Kathleen Marshall (City Center Encores).
Learn more at the Allison Plamondon website.
Read more about Allison Plamondon in this Picture this Post feature story - "Choreographer Allison Plamondon on Merce Cunningham".