Review: Dada Masilo’s ‘The Sacrifice’

Megan Amato reviews dancer Dada Masilo’s The Sacrifice.

AS SOMEONE without an ounce of rhythm, I am always awed by the ways in which the human body can move and, in award-winning South African choreographer and dancer Dada Masila’s The Sacrifice, she uses an international blend of dance and instrument to showcase the diverse flow and form of movement.

Inspired by Igor Stravinsky’s original ballet and Pina Bausch’s later adaption of The Right of Spring, Masila combines European ballet movements with Botswanan Tswana dance and ritual in a captivating and innovative fusion that transforms the original work, proving to audiences that there is equal value to be found in all forms of dance – not one or the other.

The staging itself was simple. The musicians are in the front right corner and there are no props except for the use of a projector to create a soft mosaic as the background. The stage purely is for the dancers, for freedom of movement and our eyes are immediately drawn to the sway of their bodies without any distractions.

Masila is not only The Sacrifice’s choreographer, but she is also its principal dancer. We are introduced to her rhythmic dancing as she follows Ann Masina’s stunning vocals solo on stage, her simple yet effecting costume swaying around her legs, leaving her top half bare in the dim lighting. She is memorising. Her energy is spellbinding; a feeling only enhanced by the phenomenal musicians on keyboard, violin, African drum, and vocals.

The dancers that follow Masila’s introduction are no less impressive. Each of their movements looks natural and free yet coordinated to work with other dancers on stage to effectively convey their story. Dancers don’t only rely on their bodies to story tell, however, as deliberate sounds of breathing, chanting and the occasional singing could be heard in moments of heart-thumping stillness.

This 65-minute breath-taking performance will linger in my memory for some time.  If you get a chance, I recommend you see it on its tour south of the Border.

Read more news and reviews on Scottish Field’s culture pages.

Plus, don’t miss author Alexander McCall Smith’s column in the April issue of Scottish Field magazine.