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‘Night Dancers’ at National Theatre
Publish Date: Jun 24, 2011
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By Emmanuel Sejjengo
TABU Flo, popular for their hip- hop and break dance, often make themselves relevant by employing contemporary dance techniques. That is what sets them apart, and managed to get them to perform in the UK at the Breaking Convention 2011 in April, where they were only the second African troupe to grace the annual showcase.

Now the group brings the same experience to the National Theatre, starting today through Sunday at 7:00pm. It is bringing it back home where it belongs.

You certainly had to pity those Europeans who looked on with awe and would only appreciate the body expressions but not the nuances of the story.

The Guardian in the UK wrote, “Ugandan group Tabu Flo’s Myth of the Night Dancers was most interesting for its seamless blend of hip-hop with African dance, and for physical wit-stiff dancing, for example, to portray an animated corpse.”

This audience will know better because night dancer stories are here the equivalent of ghost stories where we know how the different characters play out their roles. That is why the still dancing will appear a simple representation of “truth” and have less artistic merit.

The dance piece has gone through several mutations since February when it was first performed during the Uganda Dance Week. Its strength lies in its gripping narrative that runs through a burial and all the cultural rituals that go along with it.

But lurking on the line are the night dancers (sometimes equivalent to cannibals) who come back to feast on the dead body. The night dancers perform several rituals and abracadabra, the enlivened corpse, is stiff on its toes. They lead it on, probably to the chopping table.

It is a witty and sarcastic piece that is based on folk myth. Its mythical nature arms the dancers with creative opportunities that are amply used here; the costuming is interestingly ambiguous, the movement an envied exploration and God willing, the lighting should create that ambience that should make the fainthearted scream.

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