Intore dancing is arguably Rwanda’s finest and most entertaining display of culture—you may even call it poetry in motion. The technique of jumping high as they dance and swing the long weave-like head gear is nothing short of remarkable. Now imagine that in Times Square, one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations and entertainment hubs in Manhattan, New York City. Rwandan by nationality and ‘citizen of the world' by choice, Yannick Kamanzi is a professional creator, dancer, choreographer, theatre maker, and, in his own words, a disciple of Jesus Christ. He is also a firm believer that art and expression have the power to unite and help restore conversations in places where there has been silence. The ‘Black Intore’ is a concept that rewrites, through movement, the stories of struggles, Kamanzi says. “Not that there has ever been a white one, but I chose black to show what we have today on the Rwandan dance scene,” he says. The ‘intore’ is a symbol of bravery and carries more than just aesthetics—it also tells war-themed stories, and the performing men carried actual weapons. Present-day intore dancers, however, do not carry weapons, but imitations. The ‘Black Intore’ in particular is an attempt to give back the movement its ability to carry stories of current struggles, he says. Dancer by heart Kamanzi became relatively known during his performance in the first edition of “Quest to Cure” a theatre production by Shekinah Drama at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Amphitheatre during the 24th Commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. He says that dance has been his refuge, a healing spot, and in it he found identity. Being born at the border of Rwanda and Congo and not being able to speak Kinyarwanda until later on, he says he became Rwandan through the movement because it was the only place where people could not differentiate him from others. For him, passion became a profession, not with the aim of being famous but because there was a gap to fill, spaces to open, conversations that needed to be held and dance, and movement on stage allowed him to create such. He knew that he could make an impact and so he invested in it. “I really want to say I didn’t choose it, it chose me. But I guess it grew in me, rather it is still growing in me,” Kamanzi continues, adding that he will carry this until he can pass it to the next one, someone who may want to make an ‘Intore’ superhero movie, or one who will want to take this culture to space, or like how Yvan Buravan introduced its music to the modern genres. Artistic concept “The ‘Black Intore’ is just a title. The real power is in the will to get from what we have as a culture and share it, and make it meet others,” he says. Kamanzi has been dancing his whole life, but he started on a more professional level in 2016, and on the streets of Nyamirambo at 5 am in 2020, he then went on to feature in music videos, and perform on many stages. The stint in Time Square happened during a one-week visit to New York after a festival he attended at Princeton University in New Jersey. Kamanzi has travelled to Germany, Monaco, Brussels, Cape Town, Lagos, Barcelona, Ireland, London, and Paris where he is currently scheduled for dancing projects, collaborations, and shows. “I know that nothing is impossible to those who believe, I read that in the Bible, but also I have lived it so far. I want to push as far as possible so many can follow and push even further. I quit so many times, but managed to get back up again,” he says. Kamanzi adds that dancing today is not something he can easily quit. “It sits me at tables that I would never have sat at. It gives me a platform that I can use to help, inspire, and teach. “I see myself in a lot of settings doing many different things, but ultimately I see myself at a table having one-on-one conversations after big shows and helping a person fight his or her own battles, and taking their hand and walking out of there as winners.” He is a big fan of traditional music, and reimagines it blended with classical compositions like blues and jazz, he also loves choirs like Soweto, Sunday Service, Sold Out, Collective Choir, and the like. Kamanzi says the time has come for young men and women to get up and chase their dreams, but before they seek what’s ‘outside’ they should dig to find the hidden treasures already around them. “Rwanda is rich, not in its finances but in its culture, learn about it, live it, share it,” he says.