Culture | Dancing out of Africa

Over the past month, Montréal, arts interculturels (MAI) has highlighted the work of contemporary African choreographers working in Canada through an ongoing series of new works. This week, Zimbabwean dancemaker Gibson Muriva will wrap up that series with the premiere of his latest piece, Sisi. The work’s title means “sister” in the Shona language, and Muriva took inspiration for the piece from his sisters’ experiences growing up in Zimbabwe. In keeping with a growing trend in new African dance, Muriva blends contemporary movement with traditional African forms to produce a hybrid choreographic language. He uses this style to tackle issues ranging from Zimbabwe’s HIV crisis to the oppression of women and the status of refugees. Muriva used an artist’s perspective in choreographing his dancers; inspiration from photographs played a big role in the development of Sisi and it’s structure. The piece makes for an interesting couple hours; it’s worth going to if only to see the way in which all the above elements come together.

Sisi runs from September 23 – 27 at MAI (3860 Jeanne Mance); tickets can be purchased at the box office.

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