In the post-performance discussion, one of the dancers revealed that the core purpose of Via Injabulo was to make people happy. This sentiment perfectly encapsulates the essence of this collaborative spectacle, uniting Via Kathelong, a South African dance group, with two leading European dance makers, Amala Dianor and Marco da Silva Ferreira.
Presented by Dance Umbrella and Sadler’s Wells with the support of Big Pulse Dance, the show consists of two pieces seamlessly connected by an improvised intermission. The first one, førm inførms, enraptures with its incredible precision, synchronisation, and speed. A passionate and hypnotising choreography weaves together elements of house dance, various street dance styles, and Pantsula, a passionate dance that emerged during the apartheid era. The dancers, ardent and fiery, are nevertheless unapproachable in their incredible concentration and godlike stamina.
In contrast, the second piece, Emaphakathini, breaks down the barrier between the performers and the audience, evoking spontaneously effervescent and unfeigned reactions. The presence of the DJ booth turns the stage into a lively club scene, amplified by shouting, whistling, stamping feet, and clapping hands. This articulates the show’s preoccupation with the joy of being connected in togetherness and dancing in unity. The boundaries between movement and music blur, creating an electrifying energy.
In the opening, one dancer begins a solo performance, in silence, closely observed by the rest of the cast. Despite that initial suggestion, however, one of the most remarkable aspects of Via Injabulo is its focus on collective effort. While all eight dancers maintain their unique qualities and individuality throughout the production, it is evident that they are united in pursuit of a shared goal, fostering a sense of communal celebration. Notably, during the post-performance discussion, the creators consistently highlighted the themes of collectivity, teamwork, and collaboration. This underscores that Via Injabulo’s success is rooted in a deep appreciation and profound understanding of the significance of community.
Via Injabulo, a true celebration of Pantsula, South African culture, dance, and collectivity, transcends the limits of performance and the limits of history. A true masterpiece.