The ‘Zulu ballet’ Inala combines aspects of Western and Zulu music and dance in a celebration of South African culture. In combination with an original classical score by Ella Spira, the ethereal voices of South African choir Ladysmith Black Mambazo provide a wonderful soundtrack to the choreographed dance routines, creating the rhythmic pulse behind the movement of the dancers.
Each member of the dance troupe, all current and former dancers from The Royal Ballet and Rambert, exhibit exceptional strength and grace as they move through their routines, one minute balletic, the next moment irregular and contemporary and then deeply sensual.
Choreographer Mark Baldwin has created routines that are in parts gentle and moving, at other points pulsating and violent; the dancers sometimes channelling animals or acting out aspects of everyday life in South Africa. And the choir are every bit as much a part of the action on stage as the dancers, performing their own routines, or parodying the ballet to extract a laugh from their rapt audience.
The standing ovation said it all; a truly joyful and transporting experience.
Words: Diana Spencer
Inala, The Edinburgh Playhouse, Aug 10 – 12, 20:00

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