Haunting backlights, dark silhouettes and convicting voiceovers – the implications of deeper truths and knowledge are hardly deficient in Bawren Tavaziva’s Izindava. The dancers took me on an intense journey that expressed, through movement, a journey through postcolonial Zimbabwe with its greed, corruption and injustice. It is an emotionally driven tale that I believe would be hard to express in words.
Indeed, as the creative producer and executive director, Beth Cinamon says of the performance in the programme that whilst “politics, trauma, persecution and death are not easy subjects for making dance”, let alone literature, Tavaziva “has conveyed so much that feels universal and personal.”
The most enthralling and strikingly ominous motif of Izindava arises in the form of long, flexible arm extension – whip-like in movement, and ominous. Interestingly transforming the dancers body into an intimidating form, shape and presence seem to transform race and gender in this piece. Tavaziva has male, female, black, and white dancers wielding it.
Tavaziva strikes at the core the anger and pain that still haunts Zimbabwe following the colonial era
Without pointing the finger, it seems that Tavaziva strikes at the core the anger and pain that still haunts Zimbabwe following the colonial era, literally throwing it into the light and exposing the fear.
The show would not have felt complete without a contrast, and Tavaziva did just that. Flecked with moments of warm tropical lights and traditional community Zimbabwe dance, one tearful audience member said it made them feel like they were “coming home.” Could this be an effect of Tavziva calling for humanity and peace, still, in the twenty-first century?
It would seem like it is. “The system we live in needs to be upgraded. Untold history needs to be told. Everything needs to change for [whether you’re] black, white, blue [or] purple.”
Head to Exeter Northcott ASAP and prepare to be astounded.