Rwanda Focus (Kigali)

Rwanda: Fespad to Include Continental Dance Competition

The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) has on this Wednesday announced the 8th edition of the Pan-African Dance Festival (or Fespad, in its French acronym) - a cultural event that has been happening in Rwanda for more than a decade - that's scheduled to take place in Rwanda from February 23 through March 2, 2013 under the theme "The Spirit of Expression."

"Fespad is in line with Rwanda's strategy of showcasing our unique cultural heritage to the entire world through dance," said Rica Rwigamba, RDB's head of tourism and conservation during a joint press conference with the Ministry of Sports and Culture. "But it is also about creating a platform to position Kigali as international events destination while promoting African unity through dance."

Among the 40 African countries that have been invited, only five so far have confirmed their participation: Burundi, Tanzania and Madagascar, all of whom have participated in previous editions, as well as newcomers Niger and Liberia.

"We are slowly getting the confirmations, and remain confident that we will have many participants when the day comes close," she said.

The 8th edition of Fespad will consist of several dance-related activities including national dance competitions in all provinces of Rwanda, dance workshops - a great opportunity to showcase what the local dance clubs such as traditional troupes and Salsa clubs are doing -, and concerts featuring international, regional and local artists.

"We've contacted mainly some of the regional and African artists who will be joining and we are finalizing the logistics to bring them on board."

Special in this edition of the Fespad is the Pan-African Dance Competition which will involve participating countries to compete for the African Dance Title. Rwigamba added that the continental dance competition will focus on traditional dances.

The festival was bestowed upon Rwanda on the occasion of the 67th meeting of the African Union's Council of Ministers in February 1998 with the aim of cultural promotion through dance.

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