BEST DANCE PERFORMANCE OF THE PAST 12 MONTHS - 2003
Performing in his first major United States tour, South African dancer and choreographer Vincent Mantsoe was a commanding and unsettling presence when he took to the stage at the Walker Art Center last fall. Propelled by his personal Afrofusion style (a mélange of traditional African, Asian, and Western dance forms) he began a journey through three solo works. It was in "Phokwane," a dance named for Mantsoe's parents, however, that the air shimmered with the passage of spirits. He seemed to be having conversations with these souls through his bold-yet-refined movement, subtle murmurings, and poignant gestures. There was nothing contrived about the performance; it never took on the tone of false shamanism. Instead it represented as intimate a moment as one can witness on a stage, a sort of revelation of one man's purpose, not just as an artist, but as a human being.