CION: Requiem of Ravel's Boléro
Dance & Physical Theatre / Rhodes Theatre

An intrigue of dance and music that spins on the weight of mourning, Cion: Requiem of Ravel's Boléro, was conceived and choreographed by Gregory Maqoma who combined movement with his two inspired source materials: Zakes Mda’s novels Cion and Ways of Dying and Boléro - a piece of music by French composer, Maurice Ravel.


Mda's character Toloki, a professional mourner, weaves his way through the story in tandem with the music, magnificently arranged by Nhlanhla Mahlangu. He uses the acapella music of Isicathamiya. Simphiwe Bonongo, a beatboxer, highlights this sound as one of the ways to tell Toloki's story. Nine dancers who are themselves possessed by the spirit and being one with the departed souls lay them to rest, allowing peace and humanity to prevail. 


This is a universal story encompassing the past and the present that champions our ability to band together to share the burden of grief. Maqoma’s message is a collective need we share to pause for a moment and urgently think about the pain inflicted by the actions of others. 

Production Credits

Creative Team
Conceiver, Choreographer: Gregory Maqoma 
Musical Director and Composer: Nhlanhla Mahlangu
Musical Assistants: Xolisile Bongwana and Sbusiso Shozi
Costumes:  Black Coffee
Set Design: Oliver Hauser
Technical Director: Barry Strydom
Original Lighting Design: Mannie Manim
Sound Designer: Ntuthuko Mbuyazi


Vuyani Dance Theatre
Chief Executive Officer : Lindiwe Letwaba
Executive Creative Director : Gregory Maqoma
Production and Marketing Manager : Siyandiswa Dokoda


Otto Andile Nhlapo
Roseline Wilkens
Katleho Lekhula
Gilbert Goliath
Nathan Botha
Noko Moeketsi
Tshepo Molusi
Monicca Magoro
Nkosana Fakude
Thabang Mdlalose


Simphiwe Bonongo (Beatboxer)
Sipho Mhlanga
Tobela Mpela
Thabang Mkhwanazi


Vuyani Dance Theatre would like to thank the following:
Zakes Mda
The Market Theatre

About the Artists

Vuyani Dance Theatre is a Contemporary African Dance Company founded in 1999 by Artistic Director, Gregory Maqoma. After years of gracing international and local stages, VDC is well positioned as a cutting-edge, thought provoking and successful organization to have emerged in the African Continent.


Gregory Maqoma


Gregory Vuyani Maqoma became interested in dance in the late 1980’s as a means to escape the political tensions growing in his place of birth, South Africa - Soweto. He started his formal dance training in 1990 at Moving into Dance where in 2002 he became the Associate Artistic Director.


Maqoma has established himself as an internationally renowned dancer, choreographer, teacher and director. He founded Vuyani Dance Theatre (VDT) in 1999 when he was undertaking a scholarship at the Performing Arts Research and Training School (PARTS) in Belgium under the direction of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker.


Maqoma is respected for his collaborations with artists of his generation like Akram Khan, Vincent Mantsoe, Faustin Linyekula, Shanell Winlock, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Nhlanhla Mahlangu and Theatre Directors James Ngcobo and Kwame Kwei-Armah.


Several works in his repertoire have won him accolades and international acclaim. This includes FNB Vita Choreographer of the Year in 1999, 2001 and 2002 for Rhythm 1.2.3, Rhythm Blues and Southern Comfort respectively. He received the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Dance in 2002. Maqoma was a finalist in the Daimler Chrysler Choreography Award in 2002 and in the Rolex Mentorship Programme in 2003.


He is the recipient of the 2012 Tunkie Award for Leadership in Dance. In 2014 he received a “Bessie”, New York City’s premier dance award for Exit/Exist for original music composition. He served as a nominator in the 2016–2017 Rolex Arts Initiative as well as curating the 2017 Main Dance Program for The National Arts Festival. 


In 2017 Maqoma was honoured by the French Government with the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Arts & Literature) Award. In 2018 Maqoma was one of the selected visiting artists at the Virginia Commonwealth University Dance Department as well as a visiting teacher at Ecole De Sables - Toubab Dialaw - Senegal. In 2018 Maqoma collaborated with William Kentridge as a choreographer and performed in Kentridge’s opera ‘The Head and The Load’ which premiered at The Tate Modern Gallery in London in July and toured to Germany, Austria, Holland and New York.


Maqoma is part of the selection committee for Dance Biennale Afrique Festival to take place in Marrakech at a date yet to be announced. In 2019 Maqoma Collaborated with Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah in the production “Tree” produced by Manchester International Festival and the Young Vic. In 2020 Maqoma was honoured by the International Theatre Institute in partnership with UNESCO to be the author of the prestigious International Dance Day Message.


Nhlanhla Mahlangu – Composer and Music Director


Exceptional vocalist, composer, theatre maker, gravity defying dancer and educator Nhlanhla Mahlangu is a graduate in the theory and practice of Dance teaching at Moving into Dance, Mophatong. Recently Mahlangu has turned his attention to translating his prolific local and international career on stage into a Master of Arts by Creative Research at the University of Witwatersrand.


Mahlangu can only be described as a generous interdisciplinary collaborator who excels at conjuring original, complex and contemporary work rooted in traditional forms.


Born in Pholapark Squatter Camp in Apartheid South Africa in the late 1970s, Mahlangu started school during the national state of emergency in the1980s. Mahlangu witnessed first-hand the conflicts between the African National Congress, Inkatha Freedom Party and the ‘Third Force’ of the 1990s. His seminal body of work, Chant, is shaped and inspired by these experiences.


In addition to his contemporary dance and musical ingenuity Mahlangu is celebrated for his embodiment of Isicathamiya, acapella-type musical form combining vocals and movement, Mahlangu uses this practice as a way to process the history of South Africa, particularly the plight of migrant workers, these performances look to build social cohesion, heal the wounds of the past and encourage resilience in the new Democratic South Africa.


Nhlanhla Mahlangu’s prolific practice is one of interrogation, articulation, development and research. He has gained exceptional ground through his pivotal collaborations with luminaries the calibre of William Kentridge, Robyn Orlin, Richard Cock, Gregory Vuyani Maqoma, Sylvia Glasser, Vincent Mantsoe, Jay Pather, James Ngcobo, Victor Ntoni, Hugh Masekela, as well as his choral music and music making approaches with his Hlabelela Ensemble and Song and Dance Works. Mahlangu was a Naledi award winner for Best Choreographer in 2017. 

  • Venue: Rhodes Theatre
  • Location: Rhodes Theatre
  • Ticket price: ZAR 150.00
  • Programme type: Curated Programme
  • Genre: Dance & Physical Theatre
  • Duration: 70 mins
  • Ages: ALL AGES
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