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Young dancers leave theatre-goers spellbound


For three nights, the Roodepoort Theatre hosted the Jozi Youth Dance Company’s scintillating performance of Ecoutor, the first-ever show the company has produced.

With a cast of 50 dancers aged between 8 and 26, Ecoutor features several solo, paired and group dances, all choreographed to showcase the young talented dancers in the company.

Ecoutor, which means listen in French, is, according to one of the dancers, Carissa Pitchford, meant “to get people to pay attention to local talent”. She says a youth dance company of this nature is “something that has never been seen before”.

The show, through its many contemporary dances, touches on matters of life and humanity. Kamnandi Selema, one of the dancers, says it took the company a year of rehearsals to stage the three shows. She took a 120km round trip from her home in Benoni on the East Rand for practice sessions in Parktown every Saturday.

It was all worth it in the end, judging by the standing ovations the performers received. She highlights two of the main dance pieces – The Village and At Last.

The Village is a piece about a girl hallucinating. Out of this come her feelings of paranoia. At Last is a solo dance about a woman who falls in love with a man and is overwhelmed by how deeply she feels for him.

Then there is City Lights, which features Selema and other senior dancers in the company. Sexy and fast-paced, this dance had the audience on their feet on all three nights last week.

Jayden Swart started the company a year ago to develop young dancers in South Africa. She hopes to grow it to include as many young dancers from as many different and diverse backgrounds as possible.

Auditions start in August.