OYO addresses unanswered issues though art

28 September 2018 | Art and Entertainment

The OYO dance troupe, born in 2008, builds on the African concept of storytelling. It tells stories without using words.

It questions issues around gender, discrimination and teenage pregnancy. It appeals to the heart, not the intellect, and encourages people to reflect on the situation presented and how it affects them.

“Trapped investigates feelings when one of the two partners in a relationship doesn't want to be in that relationship,” explains choreographer Philippe Talavera. “Many people question why gender-based violence is so prominent in Namibia. I think it is the wrong approach. The approach should be why are so many people unhappy in their relationships in Namibia? If you are happy with your life, if you love your partner, would you hurt her? No, but if you feel you are in a relationship because you have to, to conform to societal norms, and feel trapped, then, yes,” says Telavera.

Trapped will performed in Rotterdam, the Netherlands on invitation by the Prince Claus Fund and Pantropical. The Prince Claus Fund supports, connects and celebrates artists and cultural practitioners where cultural expression is under pressure, and safeguards cultural heritage where it is under threat. Pantropical is a frenzied club series focusing on rough-edged tropical music, contemporary club music, outré rural folklore, global bass and more. Pantropical balances the new with the trailblazers of old, seeking out authenticity and new movements.

“It is a great honour for OYO and for the three dancers selected,” explains Talavera. “It is a very progressive venue, something we don't often see in Namibia. They will not only have a chance to perform their work but also see the work of others and connect with people around the world. This is extremely exciting,” he said.

The performance will be happening at the same time as the Windhoek International Dance Festival, spearheaded by the College of the Arts, where the rest of the OYO dance troupe will perform.

“Working on Trapped was exciting for me as it caters to a different audience and I could therefore push the dancers beyond their comfort zone. I hope we will be able to also present the piece in Namibia at some stage,” said Talavera.

Staff Reporter

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