Home Local News Gregory Maqoma’s Vuyani Dance Theatre at OZ Arts Nashville May 4-6     

Gregory Maqoma’s Vuyani Dance Theatre at OZ Arts Nashville May 4-6     

by Cass Teague

One of South Africa’s most celebrated artists, director/choreographer Gregory Maqoma is thrilling audiences around the world with this powerful new dance and live music production. Gregory Maqoma’s Vuyani Dance Theatre (South Africa) performs Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Boléro Thursday, May 4 through Saturday, May 6 at 8 PM each evening at OZ Arts Nashville, 6172 Cockrill Bend Circle. Tickets start at only $25. 

The award-winning theatrical experience is carried by the transformative singing of an African gospel quartet and features a rousing live score based on the stirring harmonies of Isicathamiya — a capella style originating from the Zulu people. Inspired by the writings of South African novelist Zakes Mda and Maurice Ravel’s legendary composition, the work weaves a narrative of greed, power, and communal mourning.  

The hauntingly complex and percussive performance is set in a graveyard, following a designated mourner as he navigates the tension of a post-Apartheid South Africa. Maqoma has described the production as “celebratory of our human experience,” and a ritual to free the souls of “those who have departed, those who were taken from the continent through slavery” so that they may “find peace.” 

“I’m thrilled to welcome 17 remarkable guests from South Africa next week,” says Mark Murphy, OZ Arts Executive & Artistic Director. “The breathtaking musicians and dancers of Vuyani Dance Theater are the last visiting artists of our 10th season — our most international (and most popular) year ever! Since all of our recent events have sold out, I’m writing to make sure you get tickets in advance for the performance I’m most excited about: South African choreographer and director Gregory Maqoma’s Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Boléro May 4-6. 

“This is our final international presentation of the season — and if you join us, I think you’ll agree we saved the best for last. The group has received cheering standing ovations at every stop in this U.S. tour, and audience members have described it as “life-changing” and “glorious.” 

In support of the production, there are three special events. 

A FREE Soweto-Style Gospel Masterclass, Monday, May 1, 7:00 – 8:30 PM at Fisk University’s Jubilee Hall, 1000 17th Avenue North. Join ensemble members from South Africa’s Vuyani Dance Theatre for a dynamic vocal masterclass centered around Isicathamiya a cappella singing and harmonizing. This workshop is designed for pre-professional singers, professional singers, and lovers of a cappella harmonies. 

A Friday Night Post-Show Conversation on Friday, May 5, following the performance at OZ Arts 

Friday night ticket holders are encouraged to remain in the theater after the show for a special conversation with the artists of Vuyani Dance Theatre. 

A FREE Contemporary Dance Masterclass on Saturday, May 6, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM, at OZ Arts, 6172 Cockrill Bend Circle. Led by members of South Africa’s Vuyani Dance Theatre, this dynamic 90-minute class will introduce intermediate and advanced movers to the athletic styles of the company. 

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