South African director Bryan Little is about to show you the streets of Soweto like you've never seen them. As the home to some incredibly talented young men responding to a difficult environment through dance. Little's The African Cypher
is a feature length doc following a diverse group of Soweto street dancers as they prepare for the Red Bull sponsored Beat Battle. And I guarantee that the trailer will leave a big smile on your face.
Street dance in South Africa is a complex, convoluted underworld; that,
like most sub-cultures, exists as a sum of its participants.
Mapetla, Soweto if you steal phones and hand bags you will not live
long. The community will kill you. If you do a heist, they will tell the
police you are not there. Prince tells me this as we walk back to
Mada's place from the shisa nyama. (an informal outdoor fire where you
can buy some meat to cook and drink a beer.)
Prince is a pantsula.
He used to be a tsotsi, a gangster, a thug. Today he walks his streets
with pride; he is a pantsula dancer and a little bit famous. Tom London
from Soweto's Finest says, "When we dance we find purpose with our
bodies". Prince, strolling down the dusty street with his fluid
movement, a little trouble in his hat and a slight swagger, is perhaps
the embodiment of that sentiment.
When he dances on the street
corner with Mada; the kids, the tsotsi's, the mama's, the unemployed and
the hustlers all stop to watch him. I always wonder how it must feel to
have that power residing right inside you. No props, no burning hoops
Whatever this dance thing is. It is beautiful, part
circus/part soul. No matter the context or style. We all ultimately
dance for an audience of one.
Inspirational in all the right ways this looks like a truly powerful bit of filmmaking. Check the trailer below.
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