A blessed Easter with Mary Queen of Heaven Opera

Costumes and make up add another flavour and beauty to dance.

ELYSIUM Magna Dance Theatre director and popular choreographer Tafadzwa Tandi-Chingono, aka Hillary Indi, offered an Easter holiday of blessing to his dance followers through a dance opera drama Mary Queen of Heaven: Theotokos, which he rated highly compared to his past productions.

In a lengthy conversation with NewsDay Life & Style, Indi said Mary Queen of Heaven: Theotokos follows the life story of the Virgin Mary as Christians celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ during the Easter holiday.

Indi said: “It [drama] follows the life story of the Virgin Mary and her point of view especially with Jesus as her son. The production took quite some time to research, plot and rehearse. Told in highly charged choreography, song, acting and spoken word, Mary Queen of Heaven: Theotokos, is set to be one of our flagship performance on our repertoire. A lot of preps went into it and quite a lot of disappointments along the way. We intend to do quite much with this one.

“I am a passion driven person who dares to dream big. I have heightened creative abilities and I think outside the box. I believe strongly in focusing through any storm, having experienced quite a few myself. Art is at the centre of everything I do and I never miss an opportunity to apply my skillsets which are quite vast.”

Biblically Easter is narrated through several verses and one of them which closely summarises the root of the Christian faith is 1 Corinthians 15: 3-8 which reads: “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance. Or you at the first: That Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas.”

On his failure to claim a second run of the Best Dance Group Act win at the 2024 National Arts Merit Awards, he said: “Well, I think they did their best under the circumstances, whichever they are. I genuinely see better episodes coming as the governing body adapts to the reality of new emerging art forms which cannot be contained in the straight and narrow.

“Ok, the next five years, I envision theatre arts and technology becoming even more intertwined, offering new and exciting possibilities for storytelling and audience engagement. With advancements in technology such as virtual and augmented reality, motion capture and interactive installations, theatre artists will have a wider array of tools to create immersive and innovative experiences.

“I also foresee a greater emphasis on digital distribution and online platforms, allowing theatre to reach a larger and more diverse audience globally. Overall, I believe this intersection of theatre arts and technology will continue to push boundaries, redefine traditional forms of theatre and create new ways for audiences to connect with art.”

Indi believes that getting everyone to see the bigger picture ahead of any circumstances is the greatest challenge he has ever met in his career as a director and practitioner of dances. He said dance needed a lot of collaborative effort and dancers should find new sets of skills to accompany their passion.

“Art evolves and this is consistent. Allow the creative in you to manifest and see that you live a more fulfilled life as in the end, we always go back to what we love the most.”

Indi is well-known for the character James in the now-defunct television drama series, Studio 263 which was broadcast on ZBC-TV. His innate sense of innovation led him to establish the Harare Gardens as a practising hub and space for his worldwide popular Elysium Magna Dance Theatre, now a household name at several theatre events and private functions.

For one to have a deeper appreciation and enjoyment of dance acts and analysis, one may critique the dance through its primary elements such as time, space, energy and body. The ability to understand or depict how much time dancers take to do a movement, use their space and energy in comparison to their body build ups makes dances interesting.

Costumes and make up add another flavour and beauty to dance.


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