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Inala brings abundance of brilliance

BRILLIANT: Nahum McLean and Sharia Johnson with Soweto Gospel Choir (Photo: Johan Persson)

THE PREMIERE of Inala: A Zulu Ballet was centre stage at the West End’s Peacock Theatre last night where the Soweto Gospel Choir (SGC), Sisters Grimm and supporting cast received a fully deserved standing ovation following their amazing performance.

Following a sell-out run at London’s Sadler’s Wells, a Royal Variety performance appearance and a phenomenal 2015 tour, Inala returned to the UK this week, bringing together the South African choral legends with multi-award-winning choreographer Mark Baldwin OBE in a unique artistic collaboration.

Founding member of the SGC Shimmy Jiyane had said in this week's Voice newspaper that those who attended the 18-day run of the production would experience a show that encompassed "fireworks on stage, beautiful harmonies and beautiful voices", he wasn’t lying.

An intriguing fusion of South African culture with European ballet and contemporary dance, Inala follows the narrative of "a community at the beginning of a day".

PICTURED: Adelene Stanley, Joshua Harriette, Nahum McLean in Inala (Photo: Johan Persson)

Throughout the story you get a sense of different characters, a pair of lovers, families, old timers and jokers. One character falls out of step with the rest of the community. He spirals and loses his way and ends up going to the city where he runs into trouble.

Act two, which opens up with a simply stunning rendition of Ngisele Ngedwa You have left me today, my heart is painful, broken. I am left alone here, focuses on redemption and forgiveness, charting the young mans 360 journey back to his village, tale between legs where he is embraced by the community, his home.

Moments during the ballet, set to the stunning harmonies are simply spellbinding, captivating. The balance between intensity and serenity, the ebb and flow is a wonder.

FUSION: Nafisah Baba in Inala - (Photo: Johan Persson)

“I hope London is ready because it’s a beautiful show it’s a very touching show. It’s a show that has a strong message. The meaning is Inala is abundance of goodwill, It’s Zulu,” Jiyane told The Voice newspaper ahead of the first show in West End.

He added: “It’s also connected to our celebration of over two decades of democracy in our country, South Africa, so it is something that is special to us as South African’s and it’s something that is special to us as people from Soweto.

“The music is something that surrounds us, it’s something that we grew up listening to. So when you hear us sing the songs with the emotions that we put out on stage, the way the songs have been put together, it’s something that is very special.”

It’s very special indeed.

INALA - A Zulu Ballet is at the Peacock Theatre - Soweto Gospel Choir with music by Ladysmith Black Mambazo - Royal Ballet and Rambert Dancers until May 18.

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