11 August 2017

Seychelles: Contemporary Dancers From 5 Countries Descend On Seychelles - Public Gala On Sept. 2

Contemporary style dancers from Seychelles will be sharing experiences and learning from other international groups in the 9th edition of the 'Biennale des Dance' being organised by the Seychelles National Conservatoire of Performing Arts.

Five countries are participating in this year's edition of the Seychelles Dance Biennale from August 20 to September 2. An international choreographer and contemporary dancer from Australia, Scott Ewen, is also participating.

"Our dance biennale focuses on contemporary styles, but includes a fusion of our traditional dances as well - it is a vehicle for the development of contemporary dance in Seychelles," Pierre Joseph, director of the conservatoire, told journalists Thursday.

Contemporary dance is described as a style of expressive dance that combines elements of several dance genres including modern, jazz, lyrical and classical ballet. It is a style in which dancers strive to connect the mind and the body through fluid dance movements.

"The biennale is for participants aged 15 years and above and is very challenging as the event is specifically for people who are thinking seriously about dancing as a career," Joseph said.

The five participating countries are South Korea, South Africa, Reunion (a French department in the Indian Ocean), Madagascar and Mauritius including a group from Rodrigues.

First observed in 1997, the Seychelles Dance Biennale takes place every two years in the western Indian Ocean archipelago. It provides a platform for cultural exchanges among local, regional and even international dance enthusiasts allowing them to be exposed to a variety of dance forms and techniques.

The highlight of the biennale will be participants performing a piece choreographed by renowned Australian choreographer Ewen, said Ruth Barbe, a dance instructor.

Barbe worked with Ewen at the Western Australian Academy for performing arts in Perth. "Seychelles will be Ewen's fourth country to work with this year, as he has a tight schedule working with different companies notably the Australian Dance Theatre," Barbe said.

She added that: "Ewen specialises in contemporary dance and some acrobat. It is a real privilege and honour to have him here with us sharing his experience."

An instructor from the school of dance, Joel Rose, said that the biennial gives the local dancers the opportunities to share experiences and learn from the participating groups.

Rose added that it is not a competition and that "the delegation will start workshops immediately after they arrive in the country on August 21st. These sessions are very intensive and will run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day."

Mauritius and Madagascar will be presenting the creations they made for when they took part in the Jeux de la Francophonie - held recently in Ivory Coast.

The Seychelles Dance Biennale will culminate in a gala evening on Saturday, September 2 at the International Conference Centre in the capital Victoria. The money raised at the event will be used to fund one student to attend the international workshop of the school of dance which usually organised in the year where there is no biennale as a preparation for the event.

"The best students of the school attend these workshops, but the money raised at this gala will be used to fund the outstanding student."

This year's dance biennale is being organised in partnership with the Seychelles National Youth Council and the Creative Industries and National Events Agency.

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