My first experience watching a contemporary dance performance was in Kigali. It was part of a play. As I converged all my attention towards the shirtless man trying to fly like a bird, land like a leaf and run like a gazelle in slow motion, I couldn’t help but wonder “Do those Tai Chi-like moves really mean anything or is Wesley Ruzibiza playing with us?” Over the years, my curiosity took over my skepticism.
I attended more related shows and it’s only at the East African Nights of Tolerance (EANT) festival last year, that I found the courage to ask a choreographer, “How do you expect people who are not familiar with contemporary dance to interpret your piece?” The director simply replied, “It is in fact subject to interpretation.” Definitely not the answer I expected but it also hit me that I don’t always understand every move in our traditional dance yet I always have a great time watching. If you can relate to this then you may relate even more to the numerous dance performances organized by Amizero Kompagnie for the 5th edition of the East African Nights of Tolerance festival.
For 4 nights in a row starting this 24th November, Kigali will be treated to stories depicting the state of our shared humanity and beyond through unique contemporary dance signatures from Tanzania, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo Brazaville, Cameroon, Benin, Ivory Cost, France, Belgium and Rwanda.
From Thursday to Saturday, 7 pm, the shows will happen at Zenith Hotel, 12 KG 676 Street (Kimihurura opposite Papyrus) for a fee of 2,000 Rwf per night or 5,000 Rwf for the three-night package.
On Sunday, the show will be at Maison des Jeunes Kimisagara, still 7pm and 2,000 Rwf entrance fee and will bring young Rwandan contemporary dancers, newly trained by local and guest dancers throughout a week workshop, to perform, watch and exchange with the dance maestros.
I promise you, you will gain pounds of joy if you go.