Street Dance review: Most Wanted Online, South Africa, February 2021

Most Wanted Online

Format: Film – street dance acts and behind the scenes action When: Fri Feb 12, 6pm to  Fri Feb 19, 9pm (online for one week) Tickets: R80 Duration: Just over an hour -1 hour and 5 minutes  Platform: Quicket  

Don’t miss this captivating film – showcasing the Most Wanted franchise of street dance in South Africa. This compelling film mashes up dance documentary with theatre and razzle dazzle dance. The film includes awe inspiring dance routines by renowned street dance crews and studios and archival footage. Interviews conducted in the pandemic – provide insight into Most Wanted – how it was and where it is positioned at this current point in time – with the global pandemic which has essentially shuttered live performance.

Before the pandemic, thousands packed theatres to watch as the productions in Johannesburg and Cape Town- bringing street dance into a theatre space. The concept grew out of shows held at a small community theatre in Cape Town, The Theatre in the District, run by theatre veterans, Trish and Brian Notcutt. Their daughter, Cleo Notcutt was part of a dance crew that used that space. The idea germinated that it would be great to transport street dance into a theatre setting. A great deal of street dance hinges on competitions and events where the pressure is to win with a new creation. Tremendous work is put in and then it is on to the next competition or show-down. In the process of transporting street dance into theatre context, crew would have the opportunity to use lighting, design and develop their works further and most importantly give theatre audiences an opportunity to experience street dance in a theatre context. A new audience was created for street dance. In addition, in the theatre, creatives working with directors and others often saw their work take on different perspectives. Brian Notcutt talks about working with a crew of 60 and with solo performers [in a theatre context] and the joy of when someone breaks out and does something surprising. It is “a moment of expression”, he enthuses is “awesome”.

The name “most wanted” arose because these were the dance crews and studios that were ‘most wanted – to be seen’. The pandemic has sadly brought Most Wanted – in the theatre – to a halt. However, creators are creating and hoping for days when it will be ‘safe’ to once again stage shows in performance spaces. Rudi Smit talks about the sense of community that Most Wanted fostered – bringing crews together in a theatre context. Most Wanted Cape Town/Johannesburg producer, Sipho Didiza reflects that before the pandemic immobilized live performance, Most Wanted was developing its brand. The plan was to add on Durban as a theatre platform. Sipho Didiza notes that “the streets have something to say.” Most Wanted has provided a platform for expression. “There is theatre culture and a street culture and to see those intertwine forms a new culture and a way I guess for people to see [in a theatre].” In the beginning, it was friends and family who came out to support the shows then it became people who had never seen street dance, coming to the theatre for this crazy “most wanted show.”

Sipho Didiza- Most Wanted Cape Town/Johannesburg producer- screenshot from Most Wanted Online

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