Goosebump-inducing harmonies, pounding drums and evocative dance are the meat and potatoes of Bhowesa Nkazana (You Go Girl). Female-centric, right down to the instrument for which the all-female troupe Intombi Zomqangala is named---The Breast Calabash Ladies, after their use of the traditional Ndebele instrument the breast calabash--- the performance is lively and encourages audience participation---even dancing (be warned).
At the mercy of flight availability, the troupe is coming to Canada in segments, this week's show will have six performers, and it will be their first time in Canada.
Headed by accomplished musician, dancer and all-around Zimbabwean superstar Sandra Ndebele, the troupe tells an at times hilarious story of young women growing up, using only song and dance (and sometimes water).
"The secret behind it was girl power, We wanted to do what boys do, when you look at other troupes, boys play the drums and girls are just dancing so we're saying it's time to change," says Ndebele. "We see girls playing the drums and maybe one day the boys will be dancing for us. We wanted to do everything ourselves and say 'go girls go!'"
A strong theme is balance, balancing society's expectations, new and old tradition, work and play. Ndebele says the play is about finding a balance between being an empowered woman and societal pressures. "In our African culture girls are on the reserved side," says Ndebele. "They have to stay home be housewives so we're trying to break the bridge, to say also women can do what men can do." --Stephanie Johns