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Celestial take on Nigerian life.

Byline: By Tamzin Lewis

Sakoba Dance Theatre: Sango/Iyanu

Exuberant and powerful, Sango demonstrates the raw excitement of dance.

Sakoba's dancers shout, stamp, flex muscles and roll their eyes. There is little room for pleasantries here. This is robust and athletic.

Sango is a riveting modern take on the traditional ritual of rain dance. The god of thunder Sango is revered in Yorubaland in Nigeria as majestic and brave yet also violent and destructive. Newcastle-based Sakoba's interpretation, choreographed by artistic director Bode Lawal, is fast and furious. The rapid pace is governed by the energised intensity of the three drummers.

There is also humour in the choreography of Sango, which portrays the aggressive god and his fearful worshippers.

The slow-paced Iyanu provides perfect balance to this double bill, which was held at Northumbria University's Lipman Theatre before a London premiere and national tour.

The ethereal and abstract Iyanu (Miracle) is also rooted in West African Dance, but is more influenced by contemporary modern dance. An original soundscape is overlaid with Bode speaking a prayer in Yoruba.

Iyanu explores the world of the spirit but also the natural world, as Sakoba's six dancers imitate the movements of birds and animals.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 1, 2005
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