Interview with Bawren Tavaziva

14 September 2017

We interview Bawren Tavaziva on creating his brand new work Izindava and composing the music.

Bawren 3 cropped










Why did you choose to compose the music for Izindava, what was your starting point?

I usually compose all the time and I always want music to be parallel to what I’m doing. I don’t want to leave that talent behind so I want to keep pushing it. For Izindava it was very different because I had time to do my research and time to be in the recording studio and experiment – usually I don’t have that time.

I can’t remember when I started or even which was my first track. It has progressed a lot from the beginning and I’m not using most of it because when I get in the dance studio it is totally different, everything changes.

You have previously stated ‘the music is the drive’, what do you mean by this and how is it reflected in the dancers’ movement?

The music is the drive because as a choreographer, if you use the wrong music for the wrong idea, it just doesn’t work. The music is the drive to support what I’m visually seeing. The music I’m working on right now is very African-driven spiritually but I’m trying to experiment with software so the sound is very different. If I can find the right music, my body automatically finds the movement.

What inspired your choreography for Izindava?

Izindava is not what I expected! It’s grown into a much bigger idea and touches on a lot of subjects. Most of my work is based on my own experiences, I’ve always been afraid of the dark and I grew up with fear. I recently went to Ethiopia to do research on understanding my background as I was brought up within the Rastafari movement. It’s different to my usual choreography- the vocabulary is very different. Initially my idea was very literal and when Ben Voorhaar, the costume designer brought the costumes, I was inspired and it changed where I was going with the piece. We get a short space of time to create work and so it is very physically demanding. The guys work really hard and really believe in the work. This group is very fresh and I’ve really enjoyed pushing them in a different way.

What did you gain from completing the research and development project in Ethiopia and how does it relate to this work? 

I went to Africa to learn about Haile Selassie’s history and who he was. That connects with this work because it speaks about the world today, why our history is destroyed, why we don’t learn about black history, for example why do we only have one black history month? So I thought I’d go to Ethiopia to research the bible and the Rasta reasoning and how that would feed into the Izindava work. With dance, I find ways to talk about things I don’t usually talk about verbally. I’m lucky because I can place those thoughts on a stage and share it. I got back in touch with my soul and I got my spirit back so when I returned it was so refreshing to feel human. Not to be running after money all the time, to lose your humanity and your soul and your spirit and to be stuck in a world of science. It is always nice to be in touch with nature again and that will show in the work.

Izindava will be touring the UK this autumn and spring 2018. Check out the Izindava page for further details and to book your tickets.