Via Kathlehong Dance and choreographer Gregory Maqoma propose an electrifying work based on a popular dance of street and protest of South Africa.

Pulsing with rhythmic energy, eight performers of Via Katlehong Dance have teamed up with contemporary choreographer Gregory Maqoma for Via Kanana, examining corruption in South Africa and those in power who make unfulfilled promises in the transition to democracy since the end of Apartheid. At once powerfully physical and deeply emotional, the production evokes a metaphorical new promised land that sadly never arrives. Still, redemption is afoot: the emboldened citizens of South Africa rise and set out to find it for themselves. 

 A short documentary about Via Kanana with members of the creative team will precede the performance, available exclusively for Digidance audiences. 

This Digidance stream is an initiative of DanceHouse (Vancouver), Danse Danse (Montreal), Harbourfront Centre (Toronto) and the National Arts Centre (Ottawa). 

 Founded in 1992, the company takes its name from the township of Katlehong in the East Rand (Johannesburg), one of the deprived neighbourhoods where the protestant Pantsula culture was born. The company has received several international awards. In all its shows, Via Katlehong Dance defends the Pantsula culture from which it comes. In the ’60s and ’70s, under the apartheid regime in South Africa, Black rural populations were displaced to the big cities and regrouped in the townships. In these ghettos, where unemployment and crime reign, the Pantsula culture, which all the youth of the townships could identify with, would be born. 

Like hip-hop in the United States and Europe, Pantsula culture is a lifestyle covering fashion, music, dance, gestural codes and speaking. Like hip-hop, it finds its field of expression in the streets. 

In the ’90s, as a multi-racial South Africa slowly set in, Via Katlehong Dance continues the protest, fighting for young people in poor neighbourhoods. Through shows and performances that combine Pantsula dance, tap dance, step and gumboot, these dances are performed together in collective energy and rhythm. 

 FEBRUARY 16 – MARCH 6, 2022 
 Available to stream in North America only.