Preparations for the eighth edition of the Pan African Dance Festival, slated for February 23 to March 2, are in top notch. The festival is an initiative of the Rwanda Development Board and the Ministry of Sports and Culture.
The festival was bestowed upon Rwanda on the occasion of the 67th meeting of the Council of Ministers of the African Union, formerly Organisation of African Unity, in February 1998 with the aim of cultural promotion through dance. The biennial festival is the biggest unrivalled African dance festival held as a means to promote peace and unity on the African continent.
The festival uses dance because the role played by dances in traditional African community went beyond entertainment; it also worked to bring people and communities closer together. Fespad was created out of the realisation that dance still holds the same importance in the social, political and economic fabric of the continent and continues to promote integration, peace and unity. The theme of this year's festival is "The spirit of expression" and it will provide a platform for Africans to express their dance styles and moves while celebrating the spirit of oneness.
The opening ceremony promises to be a spectacular display of fireworks which will illuminate the beauty of the Rwandan sky. Then there will be a colourful dance parade and the Urukerereza, which is a ballet that gathers artists from various districts and regions of Rwanda for the purpose of promoting, conserving and preserving the Rwandan culture through songs, dances, drama. It is also known as the Rwanda National Ballet. The troupe has wowed audiences across Europe, China, Japan and India.
The festival will allow guests to interact, dance and enjoy the full Rwandan experience with a lineup of various festivities including the African dance competition, the national dance competition and dance workshops.
This year will focus on expressionist dances but will also feature the usual dance styles including salsa,capoeira, samba and other trending styles. The festival is expected to attract at least 40 countries from around the world.