The art of storytelling through moving one’s
body is a marvel to watch as it commands your attention. The City of
Johannesburg’s Arts, Culture and Heritage Department in association with
Joburg Theatre and Vuyani Dance Theatre present Gregory Maqoma’s Cion:
Requiem of Ravel’s Bolero; A Production that not only embodies a unique
creative fusion of Dance and the Music of the Soweto Gospel Choir that is
guaranteed to mesmerize audiences of all ages.
The anticipated show is making a return to Johannesburg for a thrilling
seven performances at The Mandela at Joburg Theatre from 18 June until 27
June 2021 alongside the multi-Grammy award-winning, Soweto Gospel Choir.
With the worldwide outbreak of Covid-19, the world has become more intimate
and in an effort to reduce the chances of infections in closed space, it is
with this in mind that Joburg Theatre will ensure that all protocol and
safety measures will be put in place as you step into this world of intense
and enthralling movement that are delicately carried through the reimagined
music of Maurice Ravel’s Bolero.
Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Boléro, draws inspiration from the character Toloki
in South African author Zakes Mda’s novels Cion and Ways of Dying. In this
piece, the message of death and its dire consequences are infused through a
lament to be able to confront a universe in which the age-old tropes of
greed, power and religion have given rise to loss of life not as a natural
phenomenon. Toloki, the professional mourner weaves through this virtual
landscape of dissolution giving rise to a catharsis of universal grief that
will conquer the sadness, the hard reality continuing to permeate the living
confronted by death that is not their own, often so unexpected, brutal and
The contemporary African dance company lead by the renowned Gregory Maqoma
shares an innovative, visually stunning full-length work that brings
literature to life with 20 dynamic dancers and 20 enchanting voices.
Talking about the production, Gregory Magoma says: “The world has changed
from what we imagined it to be, we are all victims clouded by fear. This
work stands against that dark cloud and brings us light and hope that
humanity still exists, even in our darkest times.
“Death is a universal rite of passage, and the universe of greed, power and
religion has led us to be professional mourners who transform the horror of
death and the pain of mourning into a narrative without feeling for life.”
Set in a graveyard with the persistent cries of people in mourning and the a
cappella music of Isicathamiya in our languages lead by a quartet and
accompanied by Soweto Gospel Choir to the creative arrangement and
composition by Nhlanhla Mahlangu that vividly elicits emotions associated
with the loss of life performed dancers who are themselves possessed by the
spirit and being one with the departed souls and finally laying them to rest
for peace and humanity to prevail. Maqoma’s message through this work is
that we need to pause for a moment and urgently think about the pain
inflicted on others by the actions of others and the havoc inflicted by
Covid-19 the world over.
After gracing the stages of numerous European festivals and a very
well-received USA tour, Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Bolero returns to
Johannesburg audiences for another amplified season of this rousing dance
theatre work that stands for hope against the darkness.
The season will have two previews on 18 – 19 June with an opening
performance on 20 June two kick start the journey that lies ahead of us to
ensure the echoes of the departed stay alive.
Conceived and choreographed by: Gregory Maqoma
Dancers : Vuyani Dance Theatre
Movement analyst/dramaturge: Gladys Agulhas
Musical and vocal directors: Nhlanhla Mahlangu assisted by Xolisile
: Bongwana and Sibusiso Shozi
Set design : Oliver Hauser
Original Lighting Design : Mannie Manim
Cion Amplified Lighting design: Oliver Hauser
Sound Design: Ntuthuko Mbuyazi
Social media handles
• Twitter: @CityofJoburgZA
• Facebook: City of Joburg
• Hashtag: #CION