Formerly known as Zvishamiso Arts, the organisation trains young people in dance and was originally formed in 2001 as a way of steering youths away from crime.
The all-youth community dance company began with just 12 members. In 2006, the ambitious and well choreographed production Hope caught the attention of art pundits and started them on the road to success.
By 2008, however, the economic challenges forced the organisation to close.
Its 2014 rebirth was marked by a packed launch, supported by Jesuits Zimbabwe and the Meikles Foundation, and attended by Jibilika director Plot Mhako.
Various dance troupes showcased their exceptional dancing prowess, and the audience was dazzled by a sterling performance from 15 young dancers and six guest artists, including the award-winning Mcintosh Jerahuni and his brother Jimu Makurumbandi, who played the kora and mbira instruments.
The 35-minute piece was choreographed by the 2013 National Arts Merit Award Choreographer of the Year and Zvishamiso Arts founder, Brian Geza. It combined Afro-fusion, contemporary, gumboots, imbube and drama, and was spiced up with djembe, kora and mbira music.
Geza said the launch, after four years in the wilderness, had brought a new set of goals and ambitions. The dreadlocked dancer and choreographer said Mbare Arts Initiative sought to engage, nurture and empower young people from poor urban areas through performing arts.
“We aim to help people acquire vital lifeskills to live positively and to become successful and responsible citizens,” he said.
“We have 15 youths involved in the programme and a handful of voluntary tutors who impart various artistic skills. We also have guests from other dance troupes who come in daily for classes with us. Our doors are open to fellow artists.
“With proper training and nurturing, we aim to multiply the number of professionally trained artists as well as future teachers in the arts sector. I feel we need more artistic centres that offer training to up-and-coming young artists, thus developing a more professional arts industry in Zimbabwe,” added Geza.
The passionate artist believes art is a vital discipline in building and sustaining the economy, providing it is properly supported and structured.
Geza said he wanted to put the country on the world map of performing arts map and would continue to impart his skills to aspiring artists.
He said plans were underway to roll out subsidiary centres for Mbare Arts Initiative around the country to reach out to untapped talent.
Geza grew up at the Caps United Soccer Academy before he turned to dance in 1999. In 2006, he suffered a career-shattering spinal injury and became a choreographer, also working with various music groups and judging dancing competitions, including Mafriq and Battle of the Year contests.
Geza produced three internationally acclaimed art pieces as part of his studies for his Masters of Choreography at the Oslo Academy of the Arts in Norway.
Geza also choreographed the opening act of the UNWTO-General Assembly, co-hosted by Zimbabwe and Zambia last August.Post published in: Arts