Can you imagine a neighborhood in Berlin with only one ethnic background? This is the case of Chatsworth, a part of Durban in South Africa. During Apartheid all the inhabitants with Indian roots had to move to one common neighborhood. There they got only small houses to live in. Through this measures, the government hoped that the community of Indians would not grow larger.
Enfant terrible of the dance theater scene – Constanza Macras – choose Chatsworth as the title and frame of her newest piece. Her particular style of documentary dance theater takes the audience through fragments of unique stories, local music, romantic songs and her signature group dance scenes.
A Web of Stories
Chatsworth is much more than just a singular narrative. It is a starting point from where Macras ties a thick web of cultural references through all kinds of worlds and contexts. You get all the different perspectives on the community of Chatsworth. A place that is described in the piece as a Tupperware full of Indian culture. Closed and compact and not open for external influences. Exactly the opposite of the piece itself. Parts of the piece feel like a trip around the world in 80’s dance moves. This is of course only possible with a wonderful cast that managed to rock through one powerful dance scene after the other without losing the spirit of the show.
“It feels like a trip around the world in 80’s dance moves”
What I love about Costanza’s performances is that they manage to drag you into the most unexpected thought-chains and let you slide into a whole world of narratives and meta levels you would have never thought of before.
The Power of Empathy
But it’s not only stories that make you keep Chatsworth in mind for a while. It is all the different emotions that you go through with the different performers. A powerful dance piece that puts human empathy first and lets you connect to a great diverse cast from all around the world with an incredible lightness and sense of humor.
After last night’s premiere at HAU1 today at 17h is the only show as part of Tanz im August festival, but there will be more shows coming up December 7-10, 2018. Enjoy!