“Remix Dance Company shines with fluid, graceful performances from talented quartet”
Establishing a professional dance group integrating physically disadvantaged people dancing alongside able-bodied ones - as Remix Dance Company is doing - may perhaps be belated, but it is a vitally important step towards empowering those with some infirmity to meaningfully participate in theatrical productions. And when a choreographer of Adam Benjamin's lateral thinking writes a work of the beauty and sensitivity of his Second Time Broken he unequivocally endorses the Remix Dance Company.
Nicola Visser and Mpotseng Shuping are not in any way handicapped. They are both attractive and technically efficient dancers. But Andile Vellem is deaf and Malcolm Black, in a wheelchair, has a rare disease affecting muscle control and speech. Yet Benjamin, building and capitalising on their strengths rather than dwelling on the duo's weaknesses (particularly Black's more obvious one) created an emotive state-of-the-art piece.
Making Katherine Glenday's delicate porcelain vessels the focus of his theme "only if you let go can you come back to me" Benjamin uses Neo Muyanga's earthy rhythmic sounds to weave graceful fluid port de bras and inventive upper body movements into artistic choreographic designs. This grace was well reflected by the quartet, as well as Paul Abrams's aesthetically pleasing lighting plot and Hannah Leventhal's simple white flared pants and tops.
Ina Wichterich set the evening's opening number I Can't Give You Anything But Love to music by Billy Holiday and Muyanga.
Unfortunately, her awkward unrelated sequences emphasised Black and Vellem's frailties and didn't offset these by harnessing and showing Visser and Shuping's skills to advantage. Thus, it wasn't surprising that several patrons, not expecting that Benjamin's Second Time Broken would prove a gem, left at interval. Be sure not to do the same.
(Review by Sheila Chisholm, published in the Cape Times, South Africa, on the 6th of February 2006.)