Gregory Maqoma’s CION Has Officially Begun

The count down to the much-anticipated Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Bolero has begun.

The spirits are high as the rehearsal and technical teams work toward opening this production to Joburg audiences.

The opening night taking place on Sunday, 30 January 2022, promises to be an auspicious occasion that will be the forerunner for the exciting programming planned for the Mandela stage in 2022, a grand way to start the year.

Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Bolero will be staged at The Mandela at Joburg Theatre between 28 January 2022 until 6 February 2022, with the 28 and 29 January being previewed.

The production is a unique creative fusion of contemporary African dance created and choreographed by the renowned Gregory Maqoma in collaboration with Nhlanhla Mahlangu who delivers a compelling musical arrangement that takes the audience on a journey.

The music is carried by the harmonies of Grammy Award-winning Soweto Gospel Choir. In Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Boléro, Maqoma, the Creative Director of Vuyani Dance Theatre, draws inspiration from creations by two artists: the character Toloki in South African author Zakes Mda’s novel Cion, and music from French composer Maurice Ravel’s Boléro.

Carmel Morgan of Washington DC’s Critical Dance described the production.

“Everything in Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Boléro was first-rate. The musical direction and composition by Nhlanhla Mahlangu were simply phenomenal. I’m not a music critic, but I can’t imagine a music critic would have a negative word to say about the incredible music I heard. I was blown away by the arrangement.

The costume design by BlackCoffee, the set design and technical direction by Oliver Hauser, the original lighting design by Mannie Manim, and the sound design by Ntuthuko Mbuyani were all tremendous as well. In fact, I’ve rarely seen a performance featuring such a high level of excellence across the board.“

Gregory Maqoma says:

When creating this product and taking influence from Toloki, a professional mourner in Zakes Mda’s books Ways of Dying and Cion.

I felt that in this time and age of our democracy we are still facing similar atrocities where women and children are becoming more vulnerable as well as the senseless killings happening the world over.

This propelled me to think about this character of a professional mourner and to think how we have been turned into professional mourners”

CION will be staged under strict Covid-19 protocols including social distancing, masks and frequent sanitising. 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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