Dada Masilo's The Sacrifice - UK Tour Review

 Dada Masilo is an award winning choreographer from South Africa. She blends unfamiliar dance forms with contemporary dance or classical ballet to create a new language of dance on stage. Having previously adapted shows such as Swan Lake and Giselle, Masilo is now taking on Pina Bausch's The Rite Of Spring and fusing it with Tswana dance, the dance form native to the country of Botswana. 

What you are left with is a show that is raw, unflinchingly bold, and a journey of the meaning of rituals and sacrifice to the Tswana people. Currently on a UK tour in association with Dance Consortium, The Sacrifice has landed in Southampton for two nights at the Mayflower Theatre before continuing on an extensive UK tour. 

Masilo's dance style is the perfect blend of traditional meets contemporary. Having spent time training with dancers in Botswana, Dada wanted to portray a dance form that is unique, rhythmic, and expressive. Allowing the movement to tell the story of a maiden dancing her way to death and exploring the symbolism of what sacrifice and rituals meant to the Tswana people. With a cast of 12 dancers including Dada, this show is impactful and original and takes you on a journey that immerses you in culture and ritual. 

The show opens with Masilo dancing across the stage, bare chested, in time to the music, clapping and twisting as she hears each beat. As the rest of the dancers join her, you see elation and sadness as you watch the community of dancers select Masilo as the sacrifice. You watch as dancers writhe on the floor, create elegant and striking movements, all set against the backdrop of bare trees as if the death of the branches is foreshadowing the darkness at the end of the piece.

With an original score created by a small band on stage (who interact with the dancers occasionally in the show) and singer Ann Masina, the music is just as impactful as the dancing itself. I honestly couldn't get over Ann's singing, with an operatic range that lent itself to traditional African music in such a perfect way. Her interactions with Dada on stage almost appeared like she was a mother looking after her child. It truly was something special to hear her sing. 

Dada Masilo's The Sacrifice is like nothing I had seen before. It left me in awe of the dancing, inspired by the fusion of African dancing against a Western classic and impressed with the energy of every performer on stage. You can see that they put their heart, soul, and passion into creating something that is truly unique and is a pleasure to watch from start to finish. Dada Masilo is a choreographing powerhouse and I cannot wait to see what she creates next. 

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