Preview: Dada Masilo’s The Sacrifice, Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

Preview: Dada Masilo’s The Sacrifice, Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

Acclaimed South African choreographer and dancer Dada Masilo brings her latest show, The Sacrifice, to the Mayflower Theatre on Tuesday 7 and Wednesday 8 March.

The Sacrifice combines the European heritage of The Rite of Spring with the unique rhythms and moves of Tswana, the traditional dance of Botswana, often used in storytelling and healing ceremonies, and inspired by one of the continent’s most iconic small animals – the meerkat!

Born in Soweto, South Africa, Masilo is fascinated by the study of unfamiliar dance forms and the challenge of fusing them with contemporary dance or classical ballet.

She is known for her reinvention of classic stories so they speak to black identity and feminism, and mining her cultural background to create her own distinctive choreographic style.

An all-South African cast delivers an exhilarating performance where the wrongs of the world can potentially be alleviated through the power of the community.

Twelve spectacular dancers hold the stage with their earthy rooted mix of traditional Tswana moves and contemporary dance, performed to an original score composed by the four musicians.

“There are so many versions of The Rite of Spring set to Stravinsky’s music that I wanted to create a new score,” says Dada. “I have four musicians, a percussionist, a violinist, a keyboard player and a singer, and they listened to Stravinsky’s music.

“Then I said ‘OK, what can we do with those references?’ and they created the score while I created the movement vocabulary. We worked closely together as the live music is such an important part of the show.

“I wanted to explore ritual, what sacrifice meant to the Tswana people then and what it means now. Narrative is very important to me. I wanted to create a story that is deeper than a chosen maiden dancing herself to death.”

The Sacrifice questions the evil that humans do to themselves and asks what we have to do to change.

Tickets for Dada Masilo’s The Sacrifice (7 – 8 March) start at £14.50 and are on sale at or 02380 711811.

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