Paris-based Compagnie Vincent Mantsoe to Celebrate Story of Khoi-San People at Dance Performances This Weekend

This Saturday and Sunday, legendary choreographer Vincent Mantsoe will bring his Paris-based company to the CFA Theater to present two performances of his newest work, SAN. Known for its fusion of traditional South African movement and street dance forms, the company has been praised by the New York Times for a “…sophistication and beauty in the way traditional African dance motifs…are woven together with more sinuous abstract movements.”

SAN celebrates and tells the story of the Khoi-San people, hunter-gatherers and aboriginal inhabitants of the Southern African plains, commonly referred to as Bushmen. Mantsoe writes:

“Restricted from the open land, which has slowly but consistently been converted to farmland or taken into possession for mining, the San have been silenced, fenced out, subjected to hangings intended to break their spirit, and endured the terrors of genocide… SAN asks how, in the face of change, which spreads like wild roots, we can sustain the freedom to express our sense of beauty, emotions and attitudes without shame or guilt of who we are.”

Interestingly, this past Thursday marked a major victory in the Khoi-San’s defense of their rights, when Botswana’s Court of Appeal revoked a 2010 ruling that had denied the Kalahari Bushmen access to water on their own lands. (More information on this legislation is available online here). 

The themes of SAN take on new meaning with this hopeful news, and this weekend’s performances by Compagnie Vincent Mantsoe should be especially moving in light of this important milestone.

Saturday, February 5, 8pm & Sunday, February 6, 3pm
Pre-performance talk by Debra Cash in the CFA Hall at 7:15pm before the Saturday performance
CFA Theater
$21, $18 seniors, Wesleyan faculty/staff, non-Wesleyan students, $8 Wesleyan students

Pamela Tatge
Director, Center for the Arts

3 thoughts on “Paris-based Compagnie Vincent Mantsoe to Celebrate Story of Khoi-San People at Dance Performances This Weekend”

  1. Loved the dance performance. Very emotional and memorable.Excellent combination of music and dance. Please have more afternoon performances if possible.

    Thank you,
    Mary Kay Porter

  2. Mantsoe himself was brilliant, expressively precise and moving. The other dancers were less so. They didn’t seem to have enough choreographic material to fill the hour performance. The repetitious movements verged on creating a sort of stereotype. I looked for the San community in their interactions, but they were few, and I left with a sense of isolationa and desolation.

  3. I loved the athleticism, many of the motifs, the over-all concept, the stage setting (the use of the ropes, etc), the music, but I felt that the over-all piece just didn’t quite work. At times I couldn’t follow the “flow” and while I think that Mantsoe and his company are great dancers, the choreography just wasn’t quite there.

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