By Talent Gore
The year is coming to an end and in the last few months the arts industry, in particular dance, has been full of activity.
Significant development and growth has been recorded as dance competitions and festivals were taking place in different parts of the country.
Dance festivals have significantly contributed towards keeping the country’s culture, tradition and dance industry alive through traditional dance contests for schoolchildren and adults. Organisers are making efforts to cultivate interests in “ancient” dance styles.
Chibuku NeShamwari Dance Festival
The event continues to be one of the consistent events on the calendar of dance fetes. Bringing in groups from all the country’s provinces, the festival seeks to maintain traditional dances from around the country.
Bulawayo-based dance ensemble Ezimnyama were this year’s winners after they beat nine other groups at an event that was held at Rimuka Stadium in Kadoma in August this year.
The 17-member group walked away with $15 000 plus a trophy. This was their second time to secure the top prize after achieving the same feat two years ago at White City Stadium.
The dance festival is an annual event which has been empowering unheralded artistes and nurturing talent around the country in the last couple of years.
Jikinya Dance Festival
Chipindura Primary School of Bindura emerged winners of the Jikinya Dance Festival during a two-day competition that was held in Masvingo.
The school which was a marvel to watch on the dance-floor won the competition last year and once again, beating nine others with their Mbende Jerusalema traditional dance.
Jikinya has for many years exhibited talent among the young people while it also strives for cultural heritage preservation through encouraging children to pursue various traditional dances.
Primary schools from around the country showcase their traditional dance skills at the competition that has a category for compulsory dance that ensures exchange of cultural dances among pupils of various backgrounds.
More than 2 000 pupils take part in the competition every year and the major thrust is to safeguard cultural heritage through dance.
Mafuwe dance festival
The inaugural edition of the Mafuwe International Festival of Dance brought an electric and memorable three-day event.
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The festival, which was held in April had an array of dance programmes at Reps Theatre, the National Ballet and Barca Bar in Mbare.
The festival had performers from Uganda, Germany and South Africa. It featured 26 international artists and 35 locals.
Jibilika Dance Festival
The popular Jibilika Dance Festival which has done so well in representing the lifestyle and culture of youths in Zimbabwe was not held in the country this year as it went to Botswana.
Jibilika Dance Festival has managed to give youths a platform to showcase trending lifestyles, social issues and fashion through dance.
Over the years, the dance festival has exposed massive talent in the country and it was refreshing that some of the local groups that went to perform in Botswana left lasting impressions.
Founder of the festival, Plot Mhako, said the fête will go to other countries in the region and local groups will export local dances to other countries.