In 2012, she was in the country for vacation when she co-organised a charity show dubbed ‘Hip Hop for Hope Rwanda’ with a colleague at Ishyo Arts Centre.
The event raised Rwf300,000 that went into extending support to children at the University Teaching Hospital Kigali (CHUK), but now the multitalented Macha Abdallah is here to stay.
Having graduated last year with a Bachelors degree in Psychology from the University of Alberta, Canada, Abdallah says her heart belongs to the arts and believes that she can use her talent to impact her country.
The 24-year old is blessed with a combination of talents in singing, dancing, acting and modelling.
Her talents started to be really noticeable at the age of 10 when she enrolled at Edmonton’s Victoria School, a performing and visual arts school for dance lessonsin jazz, ballet, and hip hop, lyrical, contemporary and musical theatre.
Her love for hip hop and dance led her to take on a role of hip hop instructor and choreographer in Canada while at University.
“When I got older and joined university, I didn’t have time to practise all of it and, therefore, started to do hip hop and training in various styles of street dances,” says Abdallah.
She later joined a professional all-girl dance group, with a mission of empowering girls. She started a small company which taught girl dance groups choreographed dancing.
“After I graduated in December I thought I should try my options in the arts so that I don’t have to regret losing out my chances in the future. It’s a risky choice and insecure doing something non-academic but that’s what I love,” she says.
Born in Edmonton, Alberta, to Rwandan parents, Abdallah knew no life outside Canada save for a few vacations she had in Rwanda which lasted less than a month.
“I have never lived in Rwanda. I never really knew what home is like. I would come for vacation but I never stayed for more than a month so I wanted to experience it and be with my people,” she says.
She chose to join her brother here and has been in the country for close to two months now and she has been quick to settle in because her heart was in Rwanda, she said.
Once in Rwanda, Abdallah kicked off work on her project but she admits she is challenged by how innovative and vibrant the youth in Rwanda are.
“It’s been easy to make friends in such a short time. It is quite different from Canada where people tend to stick to their circles. People are very helpful here,” he says.
“Every now and then I meet people who want to help me find a job and others trying to help me with the dance group I am working on. This is something you can’t find in Canada where people are more individualistic.”
Abdallah was one of the models that graced the Collective Rwanda fashion show and has already started her music band of three called Macha Music Band.
Besides the band, she intends to start dance choreography lessons in Rwanda.
“I noticed that there are not many dance opportunities here and whenever Iorganise a dance workshop, I notice many dance groups are self-taught,”
“I realised there is not really a platform for dancers in general which I thought is an opportunity for me. I also realised that there are not many after-school activities to keep the youth busy,” she says, adding that dancing can be one of the pastime activities.
Abdallah has been conducting dance classes since the age of 18, not only teaching the youth, but also adults.
“Dancing is a fun way for one to exercise and stay fit. Dancing gives me a full body workout. There is no need to go to the gym. Dance is also a great way to express one’s self,” she adds.
“It also trains one in discipline as they learn to work with other people and pay attention,” she explains.
She is organising a free dance workshop set for November 5 in the categories of beginner hip hop, advanced hip hop and intermediate afro house at the Kimihurura based Waka Fitness.
“With time when people are interested in doing different styles, I will be able to add in other styles like dancehall, and even ballet if people are interested in it. I hope to do other versatile styles in the future,” she says.
Abdallah also plans to provide private classes “to help stay-at-home mothers become fit.”