Angola: Minister of Culture Mourns Death of Choreographer Sakaneno João De Deus

Luanda — The Minister of Culture, Filipe Zau, has expressed his sorrow at the death of dance teacher Sakaneno João de Deus, who died on Sunday of illness at the age of 62.

In a note of condolence, which ANGOP had access to, the minister said that he had just learnt of the death of Sakaneno João de Deus with great sadness.

"In this hour of consternation, the Minister of Culture sends his condolences to the bereaved family, on behalf of himself and the heads and employees of the Ministry of Culture", reads the document.

Sakaneno de Deus, as he was known, a native of Songa Cama Tambo Damba, Uíge province, was born on 24 November 1962 and was a dance teacher and choreographer.

He was a key figure in dance in Angola, as many of the dancers we know today have passed through his hands. He was director of the Dance Academy in 1989, 1990, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003.

The deceased was a reference teacher given his professional competence in the arts, particularly dance, both in organisation and preparation and in training.

He was the author of several arts and realisation projects at national and international level.

The choreographer has been a member of the International Dance Council (IDC) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the international and national folk dance (INFD).

He has participated internationally in conferences, lectures, festivals, workshops, debates and training in various countries in Africa, America and the Middle East as a speaker in dance practices and theories.

Sakaneno João de Deus has created several choreographies, including those for the opening and closing ceremonies of the African Football Cup of Nations, which the country hosted in 2010.

He started teaching dance when he was just 10 years old, in the village where he was born, in Uíge. In 1978, he came to Luanda and immediately began attending his first art instructor course, given at the Theatre Avenue center by the late painter Vittex.

The following year, he left for Cuba, where he took an art course, which he completed in 1986, when he returned to Angola.

Before returning, he did some work in Cuba, both at the school where he studied and in orphanages. She even taught art classes and worked with orphaned children from Nicaragua and other countries.

He won his first prize from the Union of Artists and Composers (UNAC), the Identity Prize. He was also the winner of the National Prize for Culture and the Arts in Dance category in 2018.

He was also the first one to organise the World Dance Day Festival in Angola.

The music event named Fenacult was one of his first projects and the first cultural festival organised by the Ministry of Culture. He was the author of the opening and closing choreography, which involved many dancers, including the Gingas do Maculusso, who were between eight and nine years old at the time.

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