Review: Tavaziva's 'Africarmen'

Second year BA Journalism students Jess and Georgia review their first experience as audience members at Déda.

Jess: "Hi everyone! I’m going to share with you my first ever experience watching a dance performance at Déda and my first time seeing Tavaziva.

Firstly, Tavaziva were absolutely amazing and I would definitely love to see them perform again! Although I had never seen a dance show like Tavaziva before, I was so excited for the show once I had seen the trailer for ‘Africarmen’ on Déda’s Youtube channel!

I also read the information on Déda’s website about the show which made me even more excited as Tavaziva’s interpretation of the story was described as “strikingly powerful, sensual and beautifully performed by six stunning dancers.” This was definitely proven throughout the show as each scene was so enthralling and captivating.

The show was also presented through genres of dance that I have never tried before, such as ballet, contemporary and African dance, therefore I was excited to see what they would be like and how they would each be used to tell the story. Having seen the show, it has definitely inspired me to take part in a contemporary dance class at Déda as it has made me realise that contemporary dance isn’t as slow as I thought it was..

It also inspired me to start doing regular dance classes at Déda as it made me realise how much I miss dance in general! While it was amazing to watch Tavaziva perform for the first time, it was also fascinating to understand the relationships between the dancers both on and off the stage, especially as they are the only dancers who know that routine.

I also think that people who have never been involved in the dance industry before would have enjoyed the show and I would definitely recommend Tavaziva to people who already dance at Déda as well as to the wider public! I think it would also change people’s views on ballet and contemporary dance as they are incorporated within the show in much more of a powerful way than I had previously imagined.

I was also unsure of whether or not I would completely understand Carmen’s story through the performance as it wasn’t something that I had heard about before, but as somebody from the audience it was very clear and easy to distinguish between each of the scenes.The scenes were also extremely engaging and exciting even though Tavaziva “seeks to demonstrate the danger and vulnerability of women” as the show unfolds.

Once the show had finished, there was also the opportunity to ask any questions or give any additional comments about the work to both the director and the dancers. This was extremely useful and beneficial as I learnt much more about the planning for the show, the music that was used and where Tavaziva’s inspiration originally spiralled from.

Overall, I am so appreciative that I was given the chance to watch the show because it was absolutely amazing and I am already looking forward to uture performances here at Déda!"


Georgia: "Before seeing Africarmen, I had watched the trailer for the show as well as having a browse on Tavaziva’s and Déda’s website to find out a little more about it so I knew what to expect. This showed me that the performance would be very different to anything I had seen before so I was very excited. I also looked at the flyers and posters for the show as they are scattered all around Déda so they are hard to miss! Coming from a dancing background I knew there would be no doubt that I would enjoy the show as I love watching dance being performed. However, I didn’t think I would be so immersed and gripped by it.

The theatre at Déda itself is very nice to watch performances in, you are extremely close to the performers so you can see everything! Every facial expression and movement. I sat about 4 rows up and could see the whole of the performance perfectly. The connection is great as the dancers are so close they can make eye contact with you. I think this is nice because you can get more involved and you really feel like a part of the show.

The performance itself was amazing, the energy the dancers have was outstanding. I felt tired just watching them but they didn’t even look like they were breaking a sweat! I was engrossed from the offset and I don’t think I took my eyes off the dancers once throughout the whole hour.

I also loved the fact that there were many different styles of dance incorporated together in the performance that typically you wouldn’t expect to go so well with one another such as ballet and African dance. I also enjoyed the fact that each number that was performed was very varied and the fact Tavaziva performed solos and group dances made it more engaging. The dancers were chopping and changing (dance styles and costumes) throughout meaning it was very fast paced and excited.

I also listened to the post show talk which was very interesting as I got an insight as to where the inspirations came from, Bawren said that he wanted to put together an adaptation of the Carmen story with an African twist. I also learnt that the music was composed especially for the performance itself. I was given an idea as to what is next for Tavaziva, Bawren mentioned that he was working on a production about children and their childhood."

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