By David Hsieh
When This particular year’s DanceAfrica opens at the Howard Gilman Opera House stage on May 24, audiences will see a dance tradition of which has never been presented within the 41 years of This particular treasured festival—the dance of Rwanda. the item will be the fulfillment of Artistic Director Abdel R. Salaam’s longtime dream—using the festival to expand our understanding of African dance in addition to demonstrate the healing power of dance.
“The first dance I learned by Chuck [DanceAfrica founder Charles Davis] is usually Intore,” said Salaam. “the item is usually a warrior dance by the East/Central African region. I believe Chuck learned the item by Burundi dancers. Then a few years ago I saw a video of women doing the same movements. I was surprised. Because as far I knew, Intore could only be danced by men. I did some digging in addition to found out This particular is usually by Rwanda, in addition to no, they’re not doing a men’s dance. although there are shared movements.”
So for DanceAfrica 2019, Salaam went to Rwanda to see Inganzo Ngari, a dance troupe of which has mastered traditional dances. “This particular is usually a group of which has all the professional touring experience in addition to can put on a show of which is usually fairly representative of Rwanda dances,” said Salaam.
Created in 2006, Inganzo Ngari (“wide talent”) aims to promote Rwandan culture through traditional dance in addition to music. The company’s Technical Director Serge Nahimana said of which Rwandan dance differs by different African dance “by the rhythmic movement of the whole body, in addition to the way of symbolizing many things with the arms, all done in a harmonic style.” Although like all African dances which are full of energy in addition to vigor, Rwanda’s is usually also famous for its slow in addition to soft movement, such as Umushagiriro.
Traditionally, men in addition to women have different dances. This particular is usually because the movements depict the daily work of men in addition to women, who have different roles in society, as Nahimana explained. For instance, Umuhigo is usually a hunting dance for men. Inkoko shows women winnowing sorghum in addition to different cereals. The dance Inkangara is usually named after the big basket women use to carry food in addition to drink. although Nahimana points out of which there are shared movements, which explains the confusion of which Salaam encountered within the video.
Since taking on the responsibility of DanceAfrica’s artistic direction, Salaam has presented dances by Senegal, Guinea, in addition to South Africa. Rwanda brings in another tradition: East Africa. although besides expanding the scope of dance presented by the festival, Rwanda also fits into Salaam’s belief of which music in addition to dance can heal wounds in addition to unite people. Twenty-5 years after the Rwandan genocide, Salaam said of which “everywhere we went, Rwandans no longer divide themselves as Hutus, Tutsis, or Twas. They are just Rwandans. They have rebuilt their society, created one of the fastest economic growths in Africa, in addition to they are understanding in addition to reconciling with their past in a fresh light.”
Music in addition to dance, Salaam said, played an important part in of which process. “Rwanda is usually another living example of a people who have gone through a very difficult time. although able to examine themselves, make change, in addition to to use the art as ways in addition to means to transform in addition to regenerate.”
To deepen understanding of contemporary Rwanda, BAM will also collaborate with Shared Studios to create a public “Portal,” adjacent to the DanceAfrica bazaar. the item is usually a self-contained space where audience members can enter in addition to have a realtime video chat with Rwandans living within the capital Kigali on topics ranging by gender equality, to green initiatives in addition to reconciliation.
BAM’s Vice President of Education in addition to Community Engagement Coco Killingsworth said, “Shared Studios have installed Portals all around the entire world, which genuinely take people beyond the headlines to connect with each different. We are going to have some curated topics as well as spontaneous discussions. Our audience will see contemporary Rwanda by Rwandans’ points of view. in addition to Rwandans will also see how their dance in addition to music are received in Brooklyn.”
Of course, some of DanceAfrica’s old favorites will return, including the bazaar, FilmAfrica, a kids’ film, a dance party within the BAMcafé, art, classes, in addition to more. Ago, Ame. See you on Memorial Day Weekend!
DanceAfrica 2019 will be at BAM May 18—27.
David Hsieh is usually a publicity manager at BAM.
Photos: Inganzo Ngari, courtesy the artists