Cape Town - Whereas performing artists usually get their kicks from strutting their stuff in front of live audiences, South African ballerina Kitty Phetla says her upcoming appearance before empty seats at the Arts Alive Festival is a blessing in disguise.
The act, which is titled “Going back to the truth of space”, is aligned to the 28th edition of the festival that will for the first time ever be held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant restrictions on public gatherings.
The ballerina is scheduled to perform in the first week of October with support from renowned South African pianist Nduduzo Makhathini.
“This time around, I think there is something very beautiful about not having live audience, because the piece - or should I call it a healing ritual - with Nduduzo Makhathini is almost like making love to an open space through ritual; bringing the ancestors to a place that we are in hence we call it going back to the troop of space.
“The recording is also in an empty space and this is all about healing. We all need healing through this time and for us at this coronavirus time. It is also a beautiful experience,” Phetla said.
She said performing with the legendary Makhatini was a unique honour.
“As an artist my act with Ndunduzo Makhatini, who is such a great legend, him being a musician and a healer at the same time, I found it such a necessity to tell stories such as that because not only is he a genius in music but he also has the ability to heal through music … it is an important story to tell because ultimately I have to tell the African story and this is my beginning of bringing my heritage closer to me in telling the stories,” she said.
Other artists at Arts Alive 2020 include contemporary singer Thandiswa Mazwai, and Khaya Mahlangu, among others.
The festival will this year have the Global Dance Supreme, the beat makers segment, a filmmakers platform, the Soweto Market Hip-Hop Night, and a webinar on “The Meaning and Direction of the Arts in the Post COVID-19 Era” among other highlights.