A new video by a MOBO-winning British jazz band, Sons of Kemet, which features South African pantsula dance crew, Indigenous Dance Academy (IDA), is one of the best videos out this year.
The video for “In the Castle of My Skin” was partly filmed in Jo’burg earlier this year. The band’s front-man, Shabaka Hutchings, encountered IDA’s dance moves when he visited South Africa earlier this year and knew they would provide an interesting visual narrative for their music. “I’ve been interested in the synthesis of Sons of Kemet’s music with African dance for a while,” says the award-winning saxophonist, composer and bandleader. “The challenge was always to find a dance style which portrayed the same aesthetic as our music and wasn’t simply pasting one genre upon another. Once I saw pantsula dancing I knew I’d found a match.”
It wasn’t long before Jo’burg-based video director, Lebogang Rasethaba, introduced Hutchings to IDA. The group is based in the Jozi township, Tembisa. They provide dance training and performance opportunities for young people as young as five years old.
“Indigenous Dance Academy’s mission is to provide dancers with an artistic education that fosters excellence in all forms of street dance,” says founder Jarrel Mathebula. He started IDA in his grandmother’s back yard. “The key goal for the academy is to instil in its dancers a desire to have a positive influence within their community. We’re not used to dancing to jazz but this opportunity got us out of our comfort zone,” says Jarrel.
“I had to learn about Sons of Kemet through their music and feel them through their art and I fell in love with the song 30 seconds in.” The result is an effortless fusion of intricate footwork and progressive sound, showcasing both talents to full effect.
Written by Monique Todd
This story was originally published on Red Bull Amaphiko.