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Swan lake

At the age of eleven, Dada fell in love with Swan Lake and promised to create her own personal version of it. 

With a company of thirteen African male and female dancers, the South African choreographer Dada Masilo revisited this great classic of Western dance that she has appropriated with her themes, Tchaikovsky’s music, her tutus and her pointe shoes and that she  has “South-Africanised” by giving it a second wind and a new life.

She joyfully explodes the codes of romantic ballet with a single watchword: be iconoclastic. Even ballet maniacs cannot resist this Lake of another kind. Here, classical dance merges brilliantly with African contemporary dance and even Tchaikovsky’s music mingles melodiously with other sounds. She thus revises the argument of Swan Lake, making Siegfried a prince with homosexual loves. By crossing the gender issue with that of homophobia in a country ravaged by AIDS, this Swan Lake speaks to us of tolerance and feelings.


Source: Maison de la Danse

Masilo, Dada

Born in 1986 in Soweto, a Johannesburg township, Dada Masilo trained primarily at the Dance Factory in Newton, the cultural district of Johannesburg, as well as at the National School of Art (Johannesburg) and at the Jazzart Dance Theater, Cape Town. In 2005, she began two years of training at PARTS (Performing Arts Research and Training Studios) with Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker in Brussels, where she discovered, among other things, the works of Trisha Brown and Pina Bausch, and created “The World, My Butt and other big round things”.

Back in South Africa, she created “Love and other four letter words” in 2008, a meditation on the AIDS pandemic, and began her work of reinterpreting traditional ballets (“Romeo and Juliette” in 2008, “Carmen” in 2009), whose codes she adopts and then distorts, by mixing aesthetics with humour. In 2011, she was awarded the Standard Bank Young Award, one of the South-African most famous dance prizes, while the South African daily newspaper The Star recognised her work “The Bitter end of Rosemary” by listing it as one of the hundred greatest successes of the year: in this work she investigates the character of Ophelia, from “Hamlet”, by giving the character's madness great vulnerability. This solo was Masilo's first piece to be performed in France, at the Anticodes Festival in Brest in March and at the Fragile Danse Festival at the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord in November 2011. Invited to the Lyon Dance Biennial in 2012, she performed “Swan Lake”, which was also widely performed in France in 2013 and 2014.

On the programme at all the festivals in South Africa, in particular the famous Dance Umbrella festival, Dada Masilo's shows also toured Tanzania, Mali, Mexico, Israel, and Europe (Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, France… ) and met with both critical and public acclaim. 

She has collaborated with many famous names on the South African arts scene. In 2013, for example, she collaborated on “Refuse the hour” with the visual artist and director William Kentridge, commissioned and danced “In creation” with the choreographer Gregory Maqoma as part of the Sujet à vif in Avignon, and “Deep night” with P. J. Sabbagha and his collective The Forgotten Angle. She also trains young dancers and regularly hosts workshops in the United States.

Since returning late 2006, she has taught for Dance Factory Youth.

In 2012 Masilo undertook a residency at Denison University, Granville, Ohio, where at the Swasey Chapel, she performed a programme of solos from her repertoire.

Source: Dada Masilo

Birraux, Jean-Marc

Jean-Marc  Birraux has been a director since 1995 for M6, Mezzo, France3, Paris Première, France2, Arte Live Web or even Arte.

Swan Lake

Choreography : Dada Masilo

Interpretation : Dada Masilo, Nicola Haskins, Bafikile Sedibe, Carlynn Williams, Shereen Mathebula, Ipeleng Merafe, Thoko Sidiya, Craig Arnolds, Johannes Snyman, Lesego Ngwato, Sibusiso Ngcobo, Genius Olekeng, Songezo Mcilizeli, Tshepo Zasekhaya

Additionnal music : Pyotr Ilyich Tchaïkovsky, Steve Reich, René Avenant, Camille Saint-Saens, Arvo Part

Lights : Suzette Le Sueur

Costumes : Dada Masilo et Suzette Le Sueur, Ann et Kirsten Bailes (Fabrication des costumes), Karabo Legoabe (Fabrication des chapeaux)

Production / Coproduction of the video work : 24 images Collection: Scènes d'écran

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