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October 5, 2023 @ 7:30 pm - October 7, 2023 @ 9:30 pm

Exit Exist Promo Pic 4

Exit/Exist’s final bow to South African stages

In honour of his 50th birthday on 16 October, iconic South African dance legend, Gregory Vuyani Maqoma, revisits his critically acclaimed, Exit/Exist, at the Pam Golding Theatre at The Baxter, for three performances only, from 5 to 7 October 2023 at 7.30pm.

This production, that has been dear to his career over the years, is his second last performance in South Africa, as Maqoma retires from dancing during this year. Through his award-winning storytelling, he has introduced the world to characters and storylines that have captured the zeitgeist and remain resonant to this day and widely become known as a catalyst for breaking new ground, as well as, changing and elevating the arts landscape.

This short run at The Baxter follows the sensitive, solo work’s hugely successful seasons at The Market Theatre and the  National Arts Festival earlier this year. The overwhelming response from audiences and media is testament that Exit/Exist, directed by James Ngcobo, still resonates in South Africa today, as the country continues to weave through the necessary discourse of land, as a nation. It reflects and explores the memory of Maqoma’s distant ancestor, Chief Jongumsobomvu Maqoma one of the most renowned Xhosa leaders, who was born in 1798, arrested when he ordered the English colonisers to liberate Xhosa land and died in Robben Island in 1873.
Exit Exist Promo Pic 2
He embodies this forgotten history in a transformational and poignant performance that fuses storytelling with his own, unparalleled contemporary dance vocabulary and spirited live music. Through his signature integration of traditional and contemporary dance, he invites audiences to reflect on who they are, where they come from, and how all of these facets, past and present, inform their personal and collective identities today.

The core of this piece is memory; rephrasing the notion of existence and the notion of simply existing,in order to exist. This production takes a moment to pause; to look back; to rewind the tape to the days when the tapestry of South Africa was about the collision of biographies. A deliberate choice of less exposition and a bigger emphasis on how we use the visual element to tell this tale, while underpinning the musicality, that evokes the spirit of the time.
Exit Exist Promo Pic 3

“The return of Exit/Exist to the South African audience is not only befitting to the extraordinary journey I have taken so far, but marks 150 years since the passing of my ancestor, Chief Maqoma,” says Gregory. “The issue of land, that is emphasised in the work, is a trail of human misery and degradation, loss and hope.”

Four exceptional vocalists, comprising TobelaMpela, Sizwe Nhlapo, Lubabalo Velebayi and Sipho Mhlanga along with world-fusion guitarist Giuliano Modarelli, join Maqoma live on stage to perform the lush music score, composed by Simphiwe Dana, under the musical direction of Happy Motha. As supporting characters in the narrative, the entire cast is interwoven into his vibrantly kinetic world, creating rich visual scenes which punctuate his abstract exploration of race and political power, cultural tradition and personal legacy.

As he retires from dancing, Maqoma believes his legacy is one of telling groundbreaking stories as a way of social commentary contributing to South Africa’s narrative and proudly the world over. It has been fifty years of firsts, fifty years of learning, fifty years of anguish and frustration, but most importantly, it has been fifty years of Gregory Vuyani Maqoma being alive. He last performed at The Baxter in 2021, along with Zolani Mahola (The One Who Sings), in Baxter Back on Stage.
Exit Exist Promo Pic 1

Exit/Exist has been made possible in collaboration with The Department of Sports Arts and Culture,National Arts Festival, Makhanda and the Market Theatre, produced by Vuyani Dance Theatre.

The production runs at the Pam Golding Theatre at The Baxter for three performances only, from 5 to 7 October 2023 at 7.30pm. Ticket prices are R180, and booking is through Webtickets online (www.baxter.co.za) or at Pick n Pay stores.


October 5, 2023 @ 7:30 pm
October 7, 2023 @ 9:30 pm
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Baxter Theatre
Main Rd, Rondebosch
Cape Town, Western Cape 7700 South Africa
021 685 7880
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