Artists & Projects Directory
Gregory Maqoma/Vuyani Dance Theatre
“Exit/Exist was thoroughly hypnotic – thanks not only to Maqoma’s virtuosity, but also the gorgeous harmonies and anguished lamentations of the four-man South African vocal ensemble. Exit/Exist was something rare and indelible: an offering of transcendent power, inducing a collective trance that leads to greater historical understanding.”
– Seattle Times
"Exit/Exist...reaches new levels of integrated, polished and evocative theatre dance."
- ArtsLink South Africa
In Exit/Exist, South African choreographer Gregory Maqoma reinvigorates tradition to understand the complexities of our contemporary world.
As inspiration for this piece, Maqoma looks to his ancestral past: Chief Maqoma, a 19th century warrior who fought to maintain Xhosa cultural traditions of the Eastern Cape in the face of colonial dispossession. Maqoma embodies this forgotten history in a transformational and poignant solo performance that fuses storytelling with his own unparalleled contemporary dance vocabulary and spirited live music. Through his signature integration of traditional and contemporary dance, Maqoma invites audiences to reflect on who we are, where we come from, and how all of these facets, past and present, inform our personal and collective identities today. Maqoma is joined on stage by four exceptional singers and world-fusion guitarist Giuliano Modarelli, performing a lush score by Simphiwe Dana, the acclaimed singer and composer from Maqoma's native province of the Eastern Cape. As supporting characters in the narrative, the entire cast is interwoven into Maqoma's vibrantly kinetic world, creating rich visual scenes which punctuate his abstract exploration of race and political power, cultural tradition and personal legacy.
“Maqoma's telling consists of dancing that mixes tradition into a stew of contemporary movement and theatricality. More than that, it is powered by the masterful, endlessly inventive musicality of Maqoma's dancing--his exact touch--and the charisma of this natural-born star.” –Infinite Body
MAPP International Productions produced the North American Tour in the 2013-2014 season, reaching 6 cities, with presentations at such prestigious venues as: Atlas Performing Arts Center (Washington, DC); On the Boards/Seattle Theatre Group (Seattle, WA); 651 ARTS (Brooklyn, NY); REDCAT (Los Angeles, CA); The Spoleto Festival USA (Charleston, SC); and The American Dance Festival (Durham, NC).
Exit/Exist was co-produced by Vuyani Dance Theatre, Dance Umbrella (Johannesburg, South Africa), Theatre de la Ville (Paris, France) and Koninklijke Vlaamse Schouwburg KVS/Royal Flemish Theatre (Brussels, Belgium).
The U.S. tours of Exit/Exist were produced by MAPP International Productions in partnership with The Africa Contemporary Arts Consortium. Presentations were made possible by the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts (with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and additional funding provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Community Connections Fund of the MetLife Foundation, and the Boeing Company Charitable Trust).
- Exit/Exist Press Kit
- Exit/Exist Press Reviews
- Kinetic Maxim - Contextual Essay on Exit/Exist by Adrienne Edwards
- Essay by Maqoma on Diversity, Identity & Modernity
- Bates Dance Fest Artist Notes by Joan Frosch
- STGtv: Journey with Gregory Maqoma
- Review: Exit/Exist on InfiniteBody
- Journey: The Art and Wisdom of Maqoma
- Travails of a warrior chief (Mail & Guardian review)
- Exit/Exist is a brilliant opening piece (Artspoken review)
- Artists go where PC Angels fear to tread (Mail & Guardian)
- South Africa Journal - Philip Bither (Walker Art Center)
- Vuyani Dance Theatre website