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January 29, 2020 at 8:54 am

Washington Post Critic Reviews Dance Built on Character from Mda Novels

Dr. Zakes Mda, portrait

Dr. Zakes Mda

A Washington Post arts critic reviews the dance “Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Boléro,” noting how the main character is built on a character from two novels by Dr. Zakes Mda, Professor Emeritus of English at Ohio University.

He built his mortality-themed dance around the character of Toloki, the professional-mourner protagonist in “Ways of Dying” and “Cion,” two novels by South African author Zakes Mda. From the latter book – in which the pragmatic yet sorrowing-obsessed Toloki lands in the United States and encounters a family whose turbulent history stretches back to slavery – Maqoma borrowed the title, an alternate spelling of the word “scion.” The choreographer deploys the word as a pun alluding to the Zion Christian Church, a major denomination in South Africa; the reference bolsters the themes of faith, healing and revelation.

Read the review in the Telegraph.


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