Choir Is Worth Making Song and Dance About
BYLINE: SHEILA CHISHOLM
Song and dance has long been an integral part of South African culture.
It would therefore be uncharacteristic for members of Soweto Gospel Choir to sing standing demurely holding their scores.
Johannesburg dancer and choreographer Shimmy Jiyane has turned his hand to choreographing movement to enhance the choir's repertoire.
He has found choreographing a choir exceptionally challenging. "Although I have given singers some Zulu dance and pantsula steps they don't, actually move around the stage like a corps de ballet, but perform them on the spot."
The challenge arises in devising actions which, while energetic, aren't so energetic they interfere with the singers' breathing.
"Any huffing and puffing would instantly destroy the wonderful sound our 26 choir members make.
"However, we've created additional interest by juxtaposing four dynamic and well-trained dancers into the scene."
Jiyane is ideally suited for this task. Born in Soweto and educated at Centurion High, Jiyane, 32, received his first dancing lessons in Soweto.
He studied contemporary, jazz, tap, ballet and African dance and later, as a professional, counts performing with Tina Turner a "dream come true. …