Duo collaborate through dance and music to explore ancestry

Kitty Phetla and Nduduzo Makathini./LAUGE SORENSEN
Kitty Phetla and Nduduzo Makathini./LAUGE SORENSEN

Classical ballet dancer Kitty Phetla and jazz musician Nduduzo Makhathini have hooked up to look into the politics of geographic space and connection to ancestors.

Going Back to the Truth of Space is the duo's latest work which opened last night at the National Arts Festival in Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown).

It's an interesting jazz meets contemporary dance outing, the two pay homage to the divine lineage of souls who occupy, inform and influence the spaces. Phetla, who has a strong background of classical and contemporary dance, taps into a new territory of spirituality and ancestors.

She says they both decided to explore the subject to tell a local story, the South African way.

Makhathini, who is both artist and healer, explains that the piece is a reflection on and evocation of African modes of performance and rituals - calling for the memories, wisdom of ancestry and healing through the adoration of space.

"Going Back to the Truth of Space engages in modes of communication through moments of improvisation we reflect the responses of the spirit world and the guidance of our ancestors."

Phetla adds: "Space has continuous conversations with those who pass through it - that same space has memory, that space carries our heritage."

She explains that the concept has made many to believe that the choreography would be weird.

"We have decided on something simple. We wanted people to focus on the beauty of it. It is going to be pure.

"We're going back to purity. Sometimes we tend to disrespect the space and the purity of it. I don't believe that there is a need to dramatise things."

Both Phetla and Makhathini transcend the music as a portal to the divine.

They embrace the realm of the ancestors as an evolving space which draws together the existence between dream state and reality.

Catch Going Back to the Truth of Space at Rhodes Great Hall until tomorrow.

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