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Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Bolero Dazzles Joburg Theatre

The art of storytelling through moving one’s body is a marvel to watch as it commands your attention. The City of Johannesburg’s  Arts, Culture and Heritage Department in association with Joburg Theatre and Vuyani Dance Theatre present Gregory Maqoma’s Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Bolero; A Production that not only embodies a unique creative fusion of Dance and the Music of the Soweto Gospel Choir that is guaranteed to mesmerize audiences of all ages.

The anticipated show is making a return to Johannesburg for a thrilling seven performances at The Mandela at Joburg Theatre from 18 June until 27 June 2021 alongside the multi-Grammy award-winning, Soweto Gospel Choir.

With the worldwide outbreak of Covid-19, the world has become more intimate and in an effort to reduce the chances of infections in closed space, it is with this in mind that Joburg Theatre will ensure that all protocol and safety measures will be put in place as you step into this world of intense and enthralling movement that are delicately carried through the reimagined music of Maurice Ravel’s Bolero.

Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Boléro, draws inspiration from the character Toloki in South African author Zakes Mda’s novels Cion and Ways of Dying. In this piece, the message of death and its dire consequences are infused through a lament to be able to confront a universe in which the age-old tropes of greed, power and religion have given rise to loss of life not as a natural phenomenon.

Toloki, the professional mourner weaves through this virtual landscape of dissolution giving rise to a catharsis of universal grief that will conquer the sadness, the hard reality continuing to permeate the living confronted by death that is not their own, often so unexpected, brutal and merciless

The contemporary African dance company lead by the renowned Gregory Maqoma shares an innovative, visually stunning full-length work that brings literature to life with 20 dynamic dancers and 20 enchanting voices. Talking about the production, Gregory Magoma says:

The world has changed from what we imagined it to be, we are all victims clouded by fear. This work stands against that dark cloud and brings us light and hope that humanity still exists, even in our darkest times.

“Death is a universal rite of passage, and the universe of greed, power and religion has led us to be professional mourners who transform the horror of death and the pain of mourning into a narrative without feeling for life.”

Set in a graveyard with the persistent cries of people in mourning and the a cappella music of Isicathamiya in our languages lead by a quartet and accompanied by Soweto Gospel Choir to the creative arrangement and composition by Nhlanhla Mahlangu that vividly elicits emotions associated with the loss of life performed dancers who are themselves possessed by the spirit and being one with the departed souls and finally laying them to rest for peace and humanity to prevail. Maqoma’s message through this work is that we need to pause for a moment and urgently think about the pain inflicted on others by the actions of others and the havoc inflicted by Covid-19 the world over.

After gracing the stages of numerous European festivals and a very well-received USA tour, Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Bolero returns to Johannesburg audiences for another amplified season of this rousing dance theatre work that stands for hope against the darkness.

The season will have two previews on 18 – 19 June with an opening performance on 20 June two kick start the journey that lies ahead of us to ensure the echoes of the departed stay alive. Limited tickets are available in line with the COVID regulations on or by calling 0861 670 670.

Production details:

Conceived and choreographed by: Gregory Maqoma

Dancers : Vuyani Dance Theatre 

Movement analyst/dramaturge: Gladys Agulhas

Musical and vocal directors: Nhlanhla Mahlangu assisted by Xolisile

: Bongwana and Sibusiso Shozi                                                                      

Set design : Oliver Hauser

Original Lighting Design : Mannie Manim

Cion Amplified Lighting design: Oliver Hauser

Sound Design: Ntuthuko Mbuyazi

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