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Rockin' Tha House

Rockin' Tha House

On 2,3 & 4 December 2016, the Inhouse Dance Project kicked off its 4th edition of a project which saw all the jooshie stereotypes of the dance arena being flipped. 

Over the three days that the Inhouse performances ran in locations that were far from the norm. Homes in locations such as Cosmo City, Alexandra Township, Noordgesig and Diepkloof played host to performances which would normally be worlds apart. The entire experience of these performances, it initially seemed were aimed to take you out of your constructed comfort zones. Straight off the bat this came across as audiences were asked to meet up at the LISOF parking lot in Blairgowrie where they were then transported to the venues by taxi; this alone was all kinds of cool for me; taking dance audiences to eKasi in taxis to watch contemporary dance performances in people's  houses. What!?
 As my girlfriend put it "White people coming out of a taxi is already performance art."

   

I began thinking of the layered effects of this; it didn't just end at exposing people to townships, or to riding in taxis, this project was getting under the skin of our created comfort zones. It was asking the hard questions without having to actually ask them. Ja; sure there is the angle of "Hau mlungu's in a taxi!", which came up as we were in Cosmo City. But, there were also other angles to consider. Such as those which raised questions of access. Who has access to contemporary dance and performance art pieces? What determines those points of access, and why they exist? These made me think of the other side of the coin. The side of the coin that asked, how would the residents react to these performers and outsiders? What would their understanding of the performances be? This for me made it clear that this project as a whole was really about our similarities & differences as a nation, as much as it was about breaking down socio-political barriers by using artforms as entry points into these deeper topics.

   

These engagements between the typical dance-going audiences versus those of the audiences at the chosen locations; the added questions of access both practically and theoretically, along with a element that questions barriers which are constructed and broken down for us as South Africans holistically.

   

At the end of it all beyond the somewhat  abstract performances of an animalistic Golem-like white chick, a video installation that didn't happen because of a power outage, a talkative gyrating mama doing dishes and singing and so much more, I think the effects of this project reached a lot further than its "deep" performances and the idea of taking dance to communities that don't normally have access to performances like these. They'd mutated from that to an educational experience for all those involved that left me with a feeling of understanding what true acceptance and inclusion could mean. If only more of our art forms could be so bold.

by Nolan Stevens
The Inhouse Dance Project http://bit.ly/2iCo2Qt

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