by Tessa Hulls
I wasn't going to write this piece.
When I was asked to be a guest blogger about Gregory Maqoma's Exit/Exist, I declined because I was leaving town early the next morning to fly to the east coast for a memorial. My family had plans to converge on Cape Cod to launch my grandfather's ashes out of a rocket, and so I was already thinking about mortality— about the transmission of cultural narratives and the weakening of collectively held stories that occurs when a generation dies. And as such, I didn't think that I had the mental or emotional capacity to take on a writing assignment.
But Exit/Exist absolutely floored me. It delivered one of those solar plexus hits that demanded a generative response. It echoed the reverberating questions that were already in my mind, and I found that I needed to write about the performance, needed to use words to sift through the power of what I saw. So I am writing this specifically because I am on my way to a...
"The ferociously gifted dancer-choreographer Gregory Maqoma pays homage to his revered Xhosa ancestor in Exit/Exist, the mesmerizing dance piece presented over the weekend at On the Boards." - read Misha Berson's review in the Seattle Times
by Roberto Morales
Exit/Exist was hypnotic and delicate like fine silk touching my senses.
Una estupenda manifestación de arte contemporanio africano atravez del baile, musica y canto. El sonido de la guitarra española con ritmos africanos y bits electronicos crean un ambiente adecuado para contar la historia de ansestros conectados con la tierra y la denuncia de la opresión britanica en Sur Africa.
Muy buena obra, realmente la recomiendo a todos.
photo by John Hogg
"...he isn’t dancing a history so much as collaborating with his ancestor’s stories to tell a new story. The whole thing from start to finish is an enthralling collaboration of ideas, things, movements, times, histories, and people."
- Art/science/philosophy blog Common Observer reviews Exit/Exist.
by Ruth Wikler-Luker
As a child growing up in the American Midwest in the 1980s, I remember learning about the fight against apartheid in South Africa, mainly by watching powerful movies like Biko and A World Apart. The images and stories from those films—as well as the news stories about Nelson Mandela in particular, and his extraordinary heroism—are still fresh in my memory.
But there are other South African heroes whom I have never seen represented, and whose individual identities and experiences I have never attempted to imagine: the 18th-century fighters who resisted the original British colonial invasion.
Last night at On the Boards, that changed. In an astounding act of time-collapsing choreographic magic, the powerful and precise choreographer and dancer Gregory...
by Rosa Singer
Gregory Maqoma is an untethered soul. Only in such a state of complete engulfment could a dancing body and being transmit so freely the profound truths and rich matters of identity expressed in Exit/Exist. So exquisitely he becomes Chief Maqoma of the Xhosa nation, his ancestor, and awakens us to his brave fight to defend land, cattle and identity against the British colonization of South Africa.
Man is cattle and land, and the cattle and land are man. Exit/Exist, takes us into this realm of materiality and relatedness that is fundamentally about our human nature, our psychosocial and ecological survival, and our spiritual evolution. Chief Maqoma is the conduit –The hero but wounded warrior. Gregory, the divine vocals of...
"The collaborative work, from Maqoma and his dance troupe Vuyani Dance Theatre...reaches an almost spiritual place, enveloped by the unexplainable magic that occurs with some performances."
Read the City Arts review here.
"...the changes from one emotional state to another, which are the salient part of plot, could not be more clear. As one member of the audience said, we understand the story in our bodies rather than our minds."
Read the review here.