The African Cypher (SIFF 2013)

“What is it about dancing that elevates people?”

Energetic documentary about the African dance scene incorporating many styles currently pervasive in the culture, including isiPantsula, crumping, and b-boying. The dancers are amazing in their abilities, athleticism, and drive, but unfortunately the film proceeds at a more subdued pace and takes away from the very interesting subject matter. There are very compelling scenes, and the overall subject matter is worthy of a film, but I wish it was just a bit more polished.

Provided Film Synopsis
This is the physicality of the dance; the awe of a body flowing through space, flipping, spinning, and snaking as if giving birth to a new means of self-expression. Across South African cities and townships, dance has long been a mirror of the community, replaying allegorical stories that both educate and entertain. Director Bryan Little harnesses the energy of the unique and diverse performance styles of isiPantsula and sBhujwa to Krump and B-boy. Crime and poverty may be a challenging reality in township life, but the dancers featured describe how their art has enriched their lives with new avenues, and pay it forward by engaging with youth through mentorship and dance training that breaks the cycle of crime and offers hope. Little's survey of dancers and styles returns often to an extraordinary duo, the Movers & Shakers, eventually following them to the expected narrative trope of the "Big Dance Competition." But, life is not a movie, and reality turns the audience's gaze beyond the stage. At times breathless and others profound, The African Cypher is a cinematic experience that explores the emotional journey of a performer.

Movie Details

  • Directed By:

    • Bryan Little
  • Cast Members:

  • Countries:

    • South Africa
  • Languages:

    • Afrikaans
    • English
    • Sotho
    • Tsotsitaal
    • Zulu
  • Genres:

    • Documentary
    • Social Issues