Beijing — THE National Service (JKT) performing arts troupe took the Tsinghua University students by storm after showcasing various Tanzanian traditional dances that impressed the Chinese.
The JKT artistes, who arrived here on Sunday night, will be participating in the Beijing International Arts Festival, and they performed their first show on Monday and won the hearts of many arts enthusiasts that attended.
The troupe performed traditional dances from various tribes including Lipango dance of the Wamalila from Mbeya, Ngokwa of the Wamakonge and Kyaso of the Wapemba from Zanzibar.
Apart from the mentioned dances, JKT also danced Mngodo of the Wakwere before wrapping up the show with the Bugobogobo dance of the Wasukuma from Mwanza and neighbouring regions.
The audience that attended the show, mostly comprising students of the Tsinghua University, simply failed to conceal their admiration of the performance and broke into loud applause to show their satisfaction. Apart from clapping hands and whistling now and then in praise of the performance, a section of the audience went as far as taking the stage and dance along with the JKT artistes.
One of the students, Liyuanyuan said the performance was fantastic and could hardly be compared to anything else. He said it was the first time for him to watch a performing arts troupe from stage a show in Beijing and promised to attend any other performance that will be done by a Tanzanian troupe, particularly JKT.
"This is my first time to see a Tanzanian performing arts troupe stage a show in Beijing...I will see to it that I attend any other show performed here by another group from Tanzania," he said. A reporter with an English newspaper, Global Times, Jiang Yuxia, said the show was quite impressive and she last saw the group in Dar es Salaam in 2004, adding that she feels the group has improved a lot.
Emmanuel Onasaa, a Tanzanian working at the Chinese International Radio, said the show was extremely brilliant and he was surprised to see the Chinese audience turning up in numbers although the announcements for the performance were not made early on. He said the Chinese usually find it difficult to accept anything done by the Africans because of a negative perception they have developed on anything from Africa. "But today they have been impressed and that is why they were cheering and clapping hands every time".
The Director of Culture in the Ministry of Information, Youth, Culture and Sports, Herman Mwansoko, who is the head of the Tanzanian delegation here, said the Chinese have learned a lot from the show. He said the biggest aspect the Chinese have learned was that the Tanzanians have their identity, which includes traditional dances.
The JKT troupe was expected to visit the Great Wall yesterday and will then continue with performances tomorrow, as well as touring several other historic places here.