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Dancer Kristi-Leigh Gresse to share the stage with Msaki at Bassline Live

JOHANNESBURG – Music lovers are in for a treat when the Bassline Live at The Lyric Theatre series kicks off on 25 February this year.

Their first concert of the series to be hosted at Gold Reef City will be headlined by vocalist Msaki presenting Platinum Heart Beating.

Part of the show will include a collaboration with dancer and choreographer Kristi-Leigh Gresse.

“This will be the first time I am performing with a live musician,” she told Eyewitness News on Friday.

READ: Msaki plans to thrill fans at the first bassline live

Durban-born choreographer is the current Standard Bank Young Artist Award (SBYA) Winner for Dance.

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She joins a prestigious list of artists who have been recognised since the first SBYA award in 1981, and the alumni of the programme have shaped South Africa’s arts landscape, while also boosting the creative economy over the years.

Previous recipients of the award include musicians like Johnny Clegg (1989) and Sibongile Khumalo (1993).

“Winning the Standard Bank Young Artist for 2021 means growth and explanation. It is an opportunity to meet and work with a number of talented artists.”

Its finna beover there by our Insta page. Whaatt?You aint following? Perhaps this upcoming chat between #BasslineLiveAtLyric headliner @Msaki_ZA & @StandardBankArt #SBYA2021 dance winner @KJGreese might make you hit the follow button https://t.co/BfhsymL1Kn Ure welcome! pic.twitter.com/GOPU6u8T0L

Bassline (@Bassline_live) February 15, 2022

Gresse has won a Standard Bank Ovation Gold Award for Sullied at the National Arts Festival in 2018 and went on to win the South East Dance Award at the Brighton Fringe Festival in 2019, before being commissioned to produce a dance screen offering for the digital JOMBA! Festival in 2020.

“I began dancing around the age of four. I was so young that I don’t have many memories of how this journey and passion for dance began. But my mother always loved to remind me how she would find me moving and grooving to almost any song that would play. And the second I found out that my school offered ballet, I beg my mother to join.”

Gresse has collaborated with a remarkable variety of South Africa’s dancers and choreographers, developing her own "voice" as an artist as her work has cohered thematically around the politics of the body as well as expressions of collective and individual identity.

“I started with classical ballet and at about the age 10, I was introduced to modern and tap dance. But it was when I joined the Playhouse Residency after graduating that I begin to have the opportunity to explore other ways of moving and other genres of dance. This has led to the hybrid form that I work in now. Although the base is still within the parameters of my classical training, I often allow the many different forms I have been exposed to to influence my choreography."

On her first collaboration with a singer, this is what she had to say: “I am mostly looking forward to celebrating art and sharing the beauty of it, with not just those who I am going to perform with, but also with those who come to watch. I am also really looking forward to the wondrous creative ideas that Msaki and I are going to share with each other along the way and from this process, looking to continuing to learn from each other.”

Gresse said that when the opportunity arose to work with folk singer-songwriter Msaki on this collaboration, she did not hesitate.

“I would have to say that for each individual, the process would take on a different shape. But the trick to collaborating is to find signage; in this case, Msaki’s music has always appealed to me, so when the opportunity came up, I didn’t even need convincing. It was a natural process I felt.”

She said besides the upcoming show with Msaki, she was also on tour.

“We are currently on tour for our production Sullied that will be performed this weekend in Johannesburg on 18 and 19 of February at the Actors Spaces at 44 Stanley. And again in Cape Town from 8 to 10 of March at the Theatre Arts in Observatory Cape Town.

"We are currently in conversation with a few other theatres in the country to do a tour of my new work."

Tickets for Bassline Live's first part are available at Computicket and doors opening at 7 pm.

Artmotion S.Africa

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