Inala: A Zulu Ballet (Singapore 2019)

I found this performance to be a bit mystifying. It featured the Soweto Gospel Choir and an international fusion dance group. The choir moved around and danced during the performance. Overall, I would say there was a lot of energy and movement and skill, but I felt the lack of a discernible story to tie it all together.

Inala: A Zulu Ballet

The dances possibly told some kind of story, but the vocals were not in English, so I had no idea what the story was.

The thick, glossy, multi-page performance program contained some information on the development of the show and the themes of the segments, but I didn’t feel like paying an additional $15 for it (tickets were already not cheap). I settled for the promotional flyer shown in the photo above.

Since there was no verbal explanation of the events transpiring on stage, I felt a bit left out. I tried to embrace the feeling, to imagine that I was a newcomer in a foreign country whose language and culture were unfamiliar. If the performance had been instrumental (like Drum Tao), I would have felt all right, but since words were being used, I felt a little frustrated that I couldn’t understand them. I had to rely on what I could see.

There was at least one dance where fishing was mimed, though a friend and I (neither of us fishermen) disagreed about the exact fishing actions being simulated. Another dance seemed to be a father giving away his daughter to a suitor.

After some dances with nature noises in the background, there was a dance with cacophonous city noises, I suppose signaling the uglier aspects of urbanization. The segment involved a couple of dancing skeletons, relative darkness, and smoke effects.

Throughout the show, there were a bunch of bird mask dances, with different people and different numbers of people wearing helmets with hooked beaks and long trailing feathers, plus other bits of costume.

During one part of the show, individual choir members came forward and mimicked the dancers’ moves. For once the meaning was clear: Yeah, I’m just a singer and not a dancer, but—check this out—I can dance too! Or in one case: Nah, can’t be bothered!

I attended the performance with four friends. We paid for good seats for Inala because watching Evita from the cheap less expensive seats in the Sands Theatre at Marina Bay Sands had been somewhat of a disappointment. In contrast, I was happy with what we could see and hear of Inala from Row K of the stalls.