Inshoza Ballet leaves mark on FESPAD with a blend of old and new


When the FESPAD, the Pan African Dance Festival, moved to the Northern Province headquarter town of Huye, expectations were to see much of similarities vis a vis previous days. A stop enroute to the festival venue at the National Museum, which is based together with the Institute of National Museums in Huye, previously known as Butare, allowed the assembled scribes to see a bit of Rwanda’s past when it was still a kingdom. Inspite of being a press group picture taking in the museum was not permitted, denying readers that priceless ‘one picture says more than a thousand words’, leaving only the outdoor homestead, granary and the weaving and pottery projects open to take pictures from. Make sure to check my Facebook pictorials to see what this photo expedition yielded. Meanwhile though, upon reaching the festival hall did to everyone’s surprise the Inshoza Group take to the stage and then the audience by storm with a new concept of blending old and new.

Best described as a choreographed ballet performance the dancers thrilled the crowd to bits when they ably merged the best of the traditional Rwandan dances with equally well presented contemporary moves on stage, moving effortlessly from one theme to the next. One of the judges, visibly pleased with what he saw, only said ‘this was very innovative to combine classic and modern, traditional heritage with the way ballets today express themselves’ before joining his colleagues for a break as there was a brief power outage halting the proceedings just when Egypt had taken to the stage.

Members of Inshoza professed to their love for art and dance and their desire to bring the Rwandan heritage and culture closer to the younger people, for many of whom the ‘classic’ performances not longer cut it all and who were waiting for some new stuff to come ‘to the market’ as their enthusiastic applause clearly indicated.

Best bet would be that Inshoza will make it to the national finals where they can present to the Rwandan nation what they see as the future of dancing in the country. Watch this space.

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