Cultural activist launches contemporary theatrical creation

Bridget van Oerle/ Sneziwe Dube

After years of research, writing and creating, Sylvia ‘Magogo’ Glasser, cultural activist, dancer, teacher, choreographer, mentor, social anthropologist and writer, has committed to print a ground-breaking publication documenting her approach to the creation of a theatre dance work, Tranceformations

  The work was produced in 1991 with dancers from Moving into Dance (MID) company, based in Newtown.

  The book will be launched on September 28 during Heritage Month at the John Kani Theatre, Market Theatre precinct, and will include a performance of the dance work by MID.

  This is a unique opportunity to witness San Rock Art interpreted through dance, purchase this ground-breaking publication and meet Glasser, a living legend and recipient of the Order of Ikhamanga Silver and a Knighthood from the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

  The trance dance and healing ritual depicted in ancient Southern African rock art, as well as the transformative powers it embodied, inspired the creation of Tranceformations.

  Dance, social and cultural anthropology, archaeology and history, are woven into the story of Glasser’s journey of research, discovery, dilemmas and decisions that led to the creation of a ground-breaking contemporary theatrical creation, new South African aesthetics and the empowerment of historically marginalised African dancers.

  At the heart of this book are issues of cultural appropriation, cultural exclusivity, cultural fusion or hybridisation and Afrofusion.

  Through a grant from the National Arts Council (NAC) 100 copies of this book will be distributed to under-resourced schools and arts communities throughout South Africa.

  Veteran South African theatre journalist, dance writer, researcher and author of Body Politics: Fingerprinting South African Contemporary Dance (2018), Adrienne Sichel says: “This heritage publication is a major addition to dance pedagogy, dance writing and literature. The text and illustrations, which have academic gravitas, provide access to chapters of South African history and art-making in an articulately accessible form. The writer’s profound activist legacy is now, thankfully, also enshrined in print.”.

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