FESPAD did not attract only Rwandans; it brought together a wide range of international professional dancers who were facilitated by the Rwanda Development Board (RBD).
In preparation for the first ever FESPAD Dance Competitions that was held at the Cultural Village at Amahoro Stadium, participants worked together with trainers who imparted their dance skills on them.
Like any other competition they had to be prepared for the winning prize. They had to show their prowess on the dance floor as they danced to the tunes of; Salsa, the Traditional Rwandan dance and Hip-Hop. Different traditional troupes from across the provinces began performing during the course of the week while those who were not attached to a troupe, were assigned to one.
Dr Zoe Norridge, a lecturer from Oxford University in the United Kingdom said she is intrigued and impressed by the Rwandan traditional dance. She decided to apply as a participant in the FESPAD Dance Competition and rehearsed daily at the Notre Dame de Citeau with other competitors.
“When I go back to the UK, I will teach the students the Rwandan traditional dance with the help of some Rwandan students who are studying from UK,” Zoe said.
Lwambo Chikuru Leandre from the Democratic Republic of Congo participated in the competition and said he found Rwanda’s traditional Dance quite complex.
“I am familiar with other dances but I find the Rwandan traditional dance very impressing when you are watching but quite difficult to practice,” Lwambo said.
It’s not Lwambo’s first time to participate in a dance competition; he has previously visited Rwanda to participate in other dance competitions. He says this year’s FESPAD Dance Competition is different.
“It was great to have someone train me so that I can gain knowledge about the Rwanda culture,” he said.
Vannatter Tricia from the United States of America said that, “the people of Rwanda are lucky to have a culture that every one would like to know about.”
“Rwandans should keep their culture attractive for all people to see,” Vannatter said.
According to Francine Byukusenge, one of the trainers for the Dance Competition, a lot of patience in is required when teaching students dance.
“We have to encourage them, be patient and make them feel comfortable as they learn different styles of dancing. Attending to individuals personally makes it easier for them to make the steps correctly,” Byukusenga said.
Yesterday, saw Umucyo dance troupe from Rwamagana take the trophy while Mashirika Creative and Performing Arts group came scooped second place.