Universal stories shared through contemporary and classical dance

‘The Issue of Blood’ sees dancers interpret the joys and heartaches of womanhood

Dancing their way back into the Guild Theatre, local dance company DaySpring are excited to stage their latest production, The Issue of Blood, in mid-October.

The moving dance piece, which explores stories of sisterhood, relationships, divorce, abortions, domestic violence and more, was first performed in 2019 as part of the National Arts Festival’s Fringe programme, then locally for East London audiences in the same year.

Following its success, a 2020 season was on the cards, but the pandemic had other plans.

“Rehearsals for this season began at the end of 2019, after many requests from audience members who had attended previous performances.

“The next performance dates were set for May 2020, but due to the national lockdown and Covid-19 restrictions it had to be delayed a number of times,” company director and choreographer Kati Ansell said.

“It has been frustrating and patience testing for both management and the cast members of DaySpring Dance Company.”

She said the company looked forward to finally stage the production amid adjusted alert level 1 restrictions.

“We’re very pleased that East London audiences will finally have an opportunity to attend these performances. It has been a long wait for DaySpring to share this production,” Ansell said.

Sharing universal stories through contemporary and classical dance, The Issue of Blood sees dancers relay the joys and heartaches of womanhood.

“Set in a red tent, that they [the women] visit once a month, they come and tell their stories of heartache, pain and joy through dance and song,” explained Ansell, who is the owner and principal ballet teacher of the Christian Dance Academy (CDA).

She said while 2021 had seen the company able to rehearse together, the various restrictions and safety protocols had been demanding on the dancers.

“Dance is so physically demanding and rehearsing in masks has been particularly challenging, but it has certainly added richness and appreciation of opportunities to perform in front of a live audience,” Ansell said.

She said the pandemic had forced the school and the company to work differently, introducing pre-recorded ballet lessons, Zoom classes and even rehearsing and filming a full-length ballet, when restrictions did not allow for audiences in theatres.

“Eventually we were able to be in full swing by the fourth term of 2020. This allowed us to have in-person RAD exams for vocational level students.

“Dancers and staff also worked really hard to film a full-length ballet, Esther-Game of Queens, at the Guild Theatre. We had small outdoor performances of excerpts from it at the Merrifield Astro Turf in November.

“Completing the movie took much longer than planned. We filmed earlier this year with a guest artist, Revil Yon, from Joburg Ballet. The editing side has also been tough. Producing something beautiful has taken much time,” Ansell said. 

She said the company also hoped to screen their film later in October. but were happy to be back in the theatre and performing to a live audience once again. 

“It’s fantastic to be back. We hope, with an audience of 250 audience, that the public will come and watch these very special, long-anticipated performances.”

The Issue of Blood will be staged at the Guild Theatre on Saturday October 16 at 3pm and 7pm.



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