Siwela Sonke’s new work set against the dancers’ homes in the sprawling townships of Umlazi and Kwa Mashu in Ethekwini considers life under lockdown and the overwhelming fear of the pandemic. While maps and statistics paint a cold sense of the toll on populations, other cartographies – those of the emotion, the individual, the physical provide the racing pulse behind impossible to imagine numbers. Solo works set in homes provide the impetus for the creation of a range of characters through the signature dance and image making style of Siwela Sonke. Duets and group work embrace the yearning for and the difficulties of moving together, connecting and holding.
Themes that result mirror the very real issues that surface under confinement in a closed space: a haunting relationship between an absent father and his son; an ancestral grandmother and a granddaughter with a child alone at home; the challenges in a barely surviving friendship, mourning, disrupted sleep and spiritual holding.
The work itself, held by a legacy of entanglement, proudly features four generations of Siwela Sonke. In these cartographies against an unyielding map of hard living, the moving, falling and flying body, embodies both trauma and triumph, reminding us of our capacity for survival and hope.