a scene from ACE Dance and Music’s “TEN” that screened as part of the 23rd JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience


By Sibahle M. Khwela

ACE Dance and Music’s TEN is an impeccable work of art choreographed by José Agudo and artistically directed by Gail and Ian Parmel. This intense and intricate dance piece, maintaining its relevance since 2011, is inspired by immigration.

From the choice of lighting that enhanced the textured backdrop, different patterns being formed by the performers, to costume being a part of the performance, to the performers being a part of the music through stomping, clapping and voice, all the way to the synchrony of the performers throughout, this piece is enticing and mesmerizing to watch as every single element of it is neatly blueprinted.

Agudo’s masterpiece reaps unity and oneness conveyed through strong unison combinations that resemble a sense of community, togetherness and solidarity. The piece has the signatures of Martial Arts, Afro-fusion, Kathak and Flamenco, allowing it to have distinct rhythms and diverse dance languages, all based in impeccable timing. The motion and pauses of the performers are so precise and mirror flawlessly.

The defining factor of this piece to me must be one of sound being allowed. The choreographer created a very swift, floating sense to the work where it was mute due to soft-landing movements even in parts of the piece that were floorwork and at pace. I loved the commanding silence of this performance that almost challenged my stillness and silence. This dynamic of intentional sound dresses the piece with a unique layer.

My favourite section of this work was where the lightwork resembled 7 sunlight beams through the roof of the space where every performer had their own. During this section the hand-slamming of the performers as they spread a powder on stage made for a powerful ensemble combination. The charisma and strength of this piece are palpable with its ingenious direction, colours and layers.

Ultimately Agudo’s visceral masterpiece is dynamic, layered in dance languages that contribute to its uniqueness and statement.




23rd annual JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience 24 August – 5 September 2021 (digital festival)

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JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience

JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience

23rd annual JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience 24 August – 5 September 2021 (digital festival)

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