By John Owoo
In Accra – Ghana)
The National Dance Company of Ghana together with guest artists recently charmed dance lovers in Accra with “Alkebulan’s Awakening”, a dance drama that is full of contrasts – old and new, soft and hard, pretty and ugly, slow and fast.
Performing at the National Theatre in Accra, the dancers moved in and out of stage with one action smoothly joining the next while a heroin undergoes challenging rites in search of her children dispersed throughout the African diaspora.
Co choreographed by Stephany Yamoah (Ghana) / Colette Marie Eloi (USA) and directed by Nii Tete Yartey, the piece is about the forces that seek to possess her as she goes on a formidable mission that requires the use of an innate power to save her children.
Alongside a brilliant rendition of compositions of Isaac Annoh by the National Symphony Orchestra and play by Mawuli Semevor, the performers exhibited a fluid energetic mix of traditional movements alongside a significant amount of creative ones.
“The piece accurately depicts the emotions invoked by the music – It is subdued, gloomy and interspersed with movements that are not technically challenging. Nevertheless, the production draws from this simplicity to create a focused atmosphere”, said Charlotte Smith, a dancer from the United Kingdom.
“Alkebulan’s Awakening” is a philosophical process, which gracefully and elegantly narrates a story of massive significance. Indeed, it’s good to see a Ghanaian audience rising to cheer two female choreographers”, added Yaa Manu, a lawyer in Accra.
With an amazing show of vigor and flexibility by the artists, this inspiring piece equally illustrates the talent of Yamoah and Eloi in effectively fusing and translating seemingly diverse forms into highly expressive movements characterized by energy and a true sense of purpose.
Clad in different colourful costumes with a huge stylized tree as props, the artists emphasized strength and power as they moved slowly, crisply whilst the heroine spark’s controversy leading to battles as she engages in deft maneuvers to locate and rescue her children.
The National Theatre of Ghana and Global African Total Theatre presented the performance in collaboration with Elwah Movement Dance Theatre. Zulumande, Sankofa, African American Association of Ghana and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture supported the production.