Slice of life: Tapsula and the superhero

There was this moment at the Wits Theatre where we performed, and it was such an incredible experience.

We were bringing together many different things and making children aware that you should value and appreciate what you have and to make the most of your situation by grabbing every opportunity.

The children, aged between eight and 14, and I performed a piece where the pantsulas were the rescuers. It wasn’t so much a rescuer but a dance superhero who has his origin on the streets.

The superhero we portrayed has a weighted political history that people (a) don’t know about and (b) the youth of today don’t necessarily know about.

They were with me the entire time.

We created the production from nowhere and the children played a role in bringing it together.

It gave us a great vehicle to discover the conversation that can be had historically and today between tap and pantsula dance — a concept that I had worked on for many years, Tapsula.

It also allowed us to explore how connected the two dance forms have been in their timelines and what has influenced both forms to create a syncretic, hybrid theatre piece.

As a tapper and dance teacher, I have combined tap and pantsula dance. For me, it has some metaphoric weight. It is a metaphor for reconciliation. It is a metaphor for rhythmic understanding, for communications. — Cinda Eatock, founder of the not-for-profit Dansazania, a dance group that often performs for events hosted by the City of Johannesburg, as told to Gemma Ritchie

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