Absolutely breathtaking. The dancers of the Jozi Youth Dance Company (JYDC) were nothing short of excellent and mesmerizing in their final #NAF18 run of Domaine.
In a brief conversation with the founder and choreographer, Jayd Swart, before the show began, she said that her dancers trained from four to six hours everyday, and my god was it evident.
The 24 dancers that performed did more than entertain the audience, they blessed us. They brought a youthful maturity to the stage and performed, not like teenagers but full-time professional dancers. The JYDC is not just creating dancers, they are creating world-class athletes who shake the audience like they’ve never been shook before.
Domaine which was choreographed by seven different choreographers was a testament of not only the dynamic nature of the company, but also the strength that the young performers have.
The choreography was beautifully intricate and complex and was rhythmically varied and extremely layered. And in all of this, the 24 performers did not even break a sweat, doubt themselves or let the stunning choreography down. All eight pieces made great use of the space and the stage never felt unbalanced or bare even when a six-year-old had a solo.
The vigorous training was evident in the way the dancers moved. They were in control, powerful and rarely unstable in their bodies. They handled the work with a sincerity that is unbecoming of teenagers and their interpretation of the dance language was mature beyond their years.
The strength of the piece, without a doubt, lay in the fact that the dancers were amazingly trained as well as the fact that they were evidently enjoying what they were doing. There is a fire in everyone of those dancers that demands your attention and when they have your attention, you’re not getting it back.
As one would expect, the younger dancers were not as technically and confident, but you will be able to see that they are headed in the right direction. They were also particularly impressive when they gracefully kept up with the older dancers, and in some routines, gave them a run for their money.
I will go as far as to say that this company of dancers is the best South African youth dance company I have ever seen. And they are only headed upwards: with Swart confirming that they have been invited to perform in Singapore next July.
It truly is unfortunate that Domaine’s run at #NAF18 has come to an end. But if you are a Joburg native then you can catch them at the ‘Joburg Theatre’ and ‘Roodepoort Theatre’ later this year. These dancers will without a doubt re-ignite, in you, a passion for theatre and the arts. Thank you to Jayd Swart and the Jozi Youth Dance Company for this offering.
By Toby Ngomane