n SATJ : South African Theatre Journal - Translate(ral) bodies through Daai za Lady and Butoh

Volume 32 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1013-7548
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This article looks at a body of work, Daai za Lady, as a mode of translating complex notions of hybrid identity in South Africa. The translatability of the work lies in its inherent signature theme, that identity cannot be fixed as the body itself can access ways of knowing and being based on multiple elements, memories and origins within and beyond itself. Iterations of this work, performed over a 25-year period within different cultural, political and social contexts across the globe, are explicated. To avoid singular meanings, both visible and visceral cognitions are acknowledged in the descriptions and analyses. The article includes references to Benjamin’s theories, and draws from Spivak, Barad, Ahmed and Coetzee to argue for ongoing translation processes that require difficulty, difference, strangeness and the unknown, in order to discard hegemonic values and create new ontologies and epistemologies. The term translate(ral) is used to describe a dance vocabulary developed through Daai za Lady and its absorption of Butoh principles in both making and performance processes. Overall, the article argues for an otherworldly embodied thinking, along with an alternate and imaginative body language that affects modes of consciousness from lateral perspectives and calls for self-determination in the world.

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