Dance film review: An enthralling day of communal celebration in Locked Doors, Behind Doors- the journey of the performance of the same name – performed, by Indoni Dance, Arts and Leadership Academy, on May 1, 2021, in front of the Hostel 33, at Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum
|What: Locked Doors, Behind Doors – documentary -the journey of the performance of the same name -which was performed, by Indoni Dance, Arts and Leadership Academy, on May 1, 2021, in front of the Hostel 33, at Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum When: The Artscape Women’s Humanity Arts Festival, 2021- streaming online as VOD – video-on-demand, on Artscape’s YouTube channel Dates: August 16-31, 2021 Duration: 25 minutes Cost: No charge Watch here: https://www.artscape.co.za/event/artscape-womens-humanity-arts-festival-2021-09-august/ |
On May 1, 2021, the Indoni Dance, Arts and Leadership Academy, performed in front of the Hostel 33, at Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum in Cape Town. Indoni performed Locked Doors, Behind Doors, a new work, choreographed by its award winning, artistic director, Sbonakaliso Ndaba. The performance was live streamed on May 1 and is archived on YouTube. I watched on my screen on May 1 and was, as always blown away by the artistry and energy of Indoni. In working with Ndaba on the piece, the artists in the company, reflected on their own experiences of being “locked down” in the pandemic, with research into slavery and migrant labour in this country. They visited the Izikio Slave Museum, for example and we see this in this short documentary (only 25 minutes).
Watching the live streamed show, on May 1, I was intrigued to see the movement in the background of the people watching – sitting on chairs and others lingering as well as general activity in the vicinity. Review link here: https://thecaperobyn.co.za/dance-review-locked-doors-behind-doors-by-indoni-on-youtube/ The community in Lwandle were very much part of my viewing experience. If you ask me, what I remember from that day, I will tell you that I wasn’t only watching the incredible Indoni but that I was watching the people who were physically in that space and who were watching/experiencing the piece. Indoni hopes to stage the performance, on stage, in February 2022, at Artscape. When it is staged in a theatre that will bring on a different perspective to the piece. The community in Lwandle provided a meta-narrative to the performance on Labour Day.
I was fascinated to watch the documentary, and gain insights into the creation of Locked Doors, Behind Doors and the Labour Day performance. It was very much an event and the credit goes to Sbonakaliso Ndaba. She actively engaged the community in the performance and was instrumental in arranging catering and entertainment on the site. In addition to Indoni, there was a parade and music. This was made possible with funding and support from the Goethe Institute (Johannesburg) and National Arts council. The excitement, started on the day before the performance and continued on May 1. Watch the 25 minute documentary and you will see how Ndaba talks about the “taking the work to the doorsteps of Lwandle”. There were the logistics of putting it all together but ultimately it was about “collecting the audience” and making it happen. I love that – “collecting the audience” along the way- the dance company going to the community.
The 25 minute documentary was a revelation for me. It starts off with Indoni as a company, its history, its purpose, how the artists have been locked down in townships; how they have been processing their isolation against the backdrop of slavery and migrant labour. Then it builds to the thrill of being able to perform again, the incredible rehearsal day and performance on May 1. The culmination of the work, sweat and preparation was day of celebration – music, food, togetherness. This is an awe inspiring example of the arts going to people. This community has been stuck behind closed doors and then there was Indoni – dancing- and evoking powerful images which speak of history and the museum- right there on the site. More than one person has remarked to me that it is “rather bleak”. Yes, migrant labour and Apartheid is bleak. The latest crime statistics are distressing and so is the grinding poverty in this country, which has been ratcheted up in the pandemic. But, Indoni brought joy on May 1 to Lwandle. It entranced the people in the area with the première of its new work. Let us put aside tags like, “redemptive theatre”, “theatre of reconciliation and hope”. The Lwandle community came out in full force to show its appreciation and enjoy the celebrations. Ndaba says in the film: “Since we have performed for the Lwandle community, we are “definitely ready for the world”. She is correct. Watch the film and get a glimpse into how Indoni danced in Lwandle, on Labour Day, South Africa, 2021.