Witnessing the intimate Hillman Attic showing of Makeda Thomas’s A Sense of Place—developed in residence with Mozambique’s Companhia Nacional de Canto e Dança—felt like watching warriors prepare for the battle of their lives. Influenced by the aesthetics of Ronald K. Brown and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Thomas’s eight magnificent performers dug in and delivered, with breathtaking dignity, gestures you could feel in your gut and heavenly dancing you wanted to watch forever. Inspired by interviews with 40 Mozambican women living with HIV/AIDS, Thomas’s dance-video project gives urgent testimony for women who dare not speak publicly, touching on the male-female schism compounding this health crisis. Video interview clips (in Portuguese) were overshadowed—often literally—by live dancers, an imbalance that perhaps will be adjusted by the time the piece premieres at Teatro Africa in Mozambique on December 1 (World AIDS Day).
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