The New Times (Kigali)

12 November 2012

East Africa: Pomp and Colour As Dance Festival Wraps Up

THE curtain finally fell on the annual East African Nights of Tolerance Dance Festival (EANT) at the Rwanda Revenue Authority's Event Hall in Kimihurura last Friday.

As promised, It was no ordinary night. It was the last act of the great festival that enthralled the nation - and it demonstrated the capacity to charm and amaze.

The show kicked off at 6:30 p.m with a major performance by Rwanda's Amizero Dance Kompagnie and ended with presentations by regional and international dancers.

With seven performers on stage, Amizero performed its famous contemporary dance play dubbed, Frontiere or Between You and Me. The dance portrays the lifestyle and situations under which human beings live and in circumstances that may lead them to turn against others.

The East African Nights of Tolerance Dance Festival is a contemporary dance festival organised by Amizero Kompagnie and directed by Wesley Ruzibiza.

The dance platform brought together choreographers and dancers from Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Tanzania, United States of America (USA) and United Kingdom (UK).

From November 3-8, participants benefited from workshops and master classes from professionals as well as high level performances.

On Wednesday, all participants and art professionals met in a workshop under the theme: "The power of culture in healing conflicts wounds". It was an opportunity for them to share experience and reflect on the theme.

It was not just about music but also topics that enrich the society including harmony and co-existence.

"I have realised that through these kinds of festivals, we learn of what other countries are going through and this also contributes towards unity to avoid conflicts," said Alice Uwera, an attendee.

Another exciting performance was from Rebecca Davis Company, a US-based troupe with a recital aptly named Darfur.

It focused on informing the audience about what has been happening in Sudan's troubled region of Darfur, depicting the hardships in the lives of people from the troubled region of Western Sudan.

Through the festival, the participating groups staged performances in various venues including Papyrus in Kimihurura and at Maison des Jeunes in Kimisagara. Among others, Mashirika, Rwanda's leading theatre group also took part in the festival.

Alesandra Seutin, a dancer from UK, said the festival proved to be a once in a lifetime experience and offered her lessons that she would pass on to others after she returns home.

"Countries have different cultures which makes it interesting to learn from one another but most importantly is what these cultures mean in terms of building peaceful families or societies in our respective countries," said Seutin.

The festival was sponsored by Prince Claus and Commonwealth Foundation Culture And Conflicts Programme, Rwanda Ministry of Sports and Culture, Amizero Dance Kompagnie, Institut Français du Rwanda, Positive Production, Radio 10, Titas Ltd, The New Times Publications Ltd, Kalaos Media Design, Papyrus, Ishyo Arts Centre.

It aimed at bringing together traditional or cultural groups from different countries to promote peace and relations among countries by sharing cultural values through music, dance and drama.

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