Towards Better Democracy

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Night People – a dance pice seen in Cape Town, 1974


Night People – a dance pice seen in Cape Town, 1974

One of the finest dance pieces I have ever seen, among the hundreds I have gone to over the years,w as danced by a black modern dance company, performing in a white theatre in Cape Town. The conception and skill of choreography was beyond belief and the dancers  were  in step in a way not usually seen in the modern dance world. Yes, I know, there have been, and still are, many excellent, world-class, modern dance companies her in the US and elsewhere. I have have seen many.

I I don’t cry as a man, but I do cry over beauty as with the memory of the wonderful dancing I saw that night, as I listen to the music. Actually, before I pulled up the video of Ellington ‘s excellent performance. 

The dance company chose to dance to the middle section of Ellington’s music: II Movement – Stalking Monster. The costumes the group were red. The tiptoeing and sheer grace of the dancers was something to behold. Aaagh.

It did not strike me then, when the country was under Apartheid, but now I realise that the identification, as suppressed South African clacks, they acutely identified with Ellington;s music, and, though I cannot speak for them, the whole sense of the freedom blacks enjoyed, and still do, in this country , the US.

Memory fails in remembering the dance company’s name. When I remember it, I shall amend the post to include it.

Malcolm D B Munro
Sunday 5 January, 2020

Duke Ellington – Night Creature Premiere at Carnegie Hall 1955

Filed under: art

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