Jeannette Ginslov and myself were regular dancers on the floor. We made up a team such as what I had with Gill Scott in 1984, Wendy Newstadt during the 1980’s and numerous other dancers over this decade of the 1980’s.
But 1987-8 was particular in the sense that Jeanette and my explorations were creative to the degree where one would consider your self threatening isolation. Our floor-work became beyond the human condition in its imagery, felt experience, with a specific anarchy embedded in it.
We decided not to perform in a theatre and this fulfilled a sense of the specialization that we reached choreographically and as a collective, a small one.
We heard of a house in Parktown with a large room. We moved in with the family and conducted our research, rehearsals and explorations with the curtains drawn.
Came the performances, people sat on the floor and we conducted two events: Jeannette’s work was called Sandstone and Skotgorsari was the title of my work.
Sandstone was bare. Her body was painted and her soundtrack was a speech by the then Prime Minister PW Botha.
Skotgorsari felt like the every possible channel to say that which could not be spoken of. It involved poetry in glossolalia, roller skates that did not roll, a dervish twirl on a zebra skin landing in an erotic copulation with the skin, and the off-tune of Sarie Marais under the zebra skin on a kazoo instrument. The endless dance to Oliver Messiaen’s Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant – Jesus felt like an opus of turning myself inside out.
After this run, I went to Bloemfontein to perform it there twice. It was at the distinct moment of receiving an applause that I decided to leave South Africa.
A week later I was on a one-way flight to South-west Africa. I lived there for 5 years, became pregnant and returned to SA with another project altogether - a child.
The extreme criticism of Skotgorsari by a reviewer for the Johannesburg press Andrea Vinassa, drew a line for me. I was in a complex trap: I loved my country, but I could no longer survive the power of the opinion of those who had no idea what it meant to move your body artistically South African. So I left, one way Namibia.
MUSIC: KIND PERMISSION OF ANDREW TRACEY ILAM, GRAHAMSTOWN OF XHOSA UMNXOKOLO SINGING, OLIVER MESSIAEN,