Partnership to rejuvenate traditional dance

The National Traditional Dancers Association has entered into partnership with the National Arts Council in a bid to rejuvenate the cultural lifestyles of various ethnic groups.

National Arts Council of Zimbabwe midlands chairperson Abigail Sibanda.
National Arts Council of Zimbabwe midlands chairperson Abigail Sibanda.

Lately, traditional dance groups seem to have lost popularity due to the emergence of modern genres like urban grooves and dancehall, which now have huge following from both the old and young generations.

Though a few groups such as Simunye traditional dance group, Mafalafala and offshoots of Cont Mhlanga’s Amakhosi Arts Academy still command some support, traditional dance in general has lost its steam. Dances like Muchongoyo, Mbakumba and Jerusalem used to be famous for reflecting the cultures of diverse ethnic groups who come from diametrically different backgrounds.

Against this background ZNTDA and NACZ have resolved to join forces to revive the hype that used to characterise traditional dancing.

In an interview on the side-lines of this year’s Chibuku Neshamwari traditional dance competitions sponsored by beverages conglomerate Delta, Abigail Sibanda, the provincial NACZ head said there was need to ensure that the nation appreciated the value of traditional dance.

“Our thrust in the partnership is to ensure the preservation and continuation of cultural lifestyles which are the basis of traditional dancing. That is the main reason why we have joined hands with the association of traditional dancers to promote this. We need to find ways of conducting outreachest to identify and promote talented traditional dancers and groups that lie unexposed. They can help add value to the arts industry,” she said.

Lazarus Mutombeni, chairperson of the traditional dancers in the province, said his association was hampered by financial constraints, but was confident that NACZ would put in place measures to lure sponsors to promote its members.

“We have brilliant traditional dance groups like Zikuvave which won the Delta competition and others like Tavirima Mhande, Fix Changoma, Chipolopolo Zambia and SRB Bira, whose performances are really good, but they do not have money to record their works and produce DVDs.

“They also do not have promoters who can take them to live shows and give them the exposure. It is this problem that we hope the partnership with NACZ will help solve because we really need to promote our culture and on the other hand ensure that those talented in the traditional dance sector turn their skills into economic assets from which they can earn a living,” he said.

Post published in: Arts

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