Walking as performance in South Africa

Choreographer Benjamin Vandewalle is at arts festival in Oudtshoorn.

Message from the rainbow nation: Belgian choreographer Benjamin Vandewalle is currently astounding South African festival-goers with the walking performance Walking the Line.

Picture this: you are sitting quietly eating at a restaurant, when a long string of people streams in and silently surrounds your table. Choreographer Benjamin Vandewalle loves to create this kind of alienating break in everyday city life. His Walking the Line is playing a series of try-outs in Oudtshoorn at the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstenfees, one of South Africa’s most important arts festivals. In Walking the Line, the spectator is simultaneously a performer: Vandewalle plucks volunteers off the street, equips them with a black ‘viewing box’ and walks with them through the city – which they experience in a new, theatrical way.

‘I ask participants to turn their world into a spectacle’

Such a wordless, interactive performance is unusual here. (…)

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Evelyne Coussens