Profile: Dance is Movement in Harmony with Rhythm—Simon Iyarwema

Simon Iyarwema is a dancer, drummer, choreographer, an actor, casting movie director and a member of the Mashirika Creative and Performing Arts Group.
Simon Iyarwema
Simon Iyarwema

Simon Iyarwema is a dancer, drummer, choreographer, an actor, casting movie director and a member of the Mashirika Creative and Performing Arts Group.

He was born in 1979 in Nairobi, Kenya. He later attended Kawagware Primary School (where), Lycee Notre Dame for O’ Level, Kigali and Lycee De Kigali for his A’ Levels before he attained a certificate in Dance and Contemporary Moves from the National University of Rwanda, Butare (Today’s Huye).

Some of Simon’s recent works as choreographer include; the choreography dance displayed during the opening night of Fespad (The Pan-African Dance Festival) on July 24th, 2010, at Amahoro stadium where he trained over 1,080 participants.

He was also behind the memorable moves that were displayed by the 400 children on April 7th, 2010, at Amahoro Stadium while marking the 16th Commemoration of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi.

“It is quit challenging working with different people who have different mindsets in order to attain the same goal. The best approach while talking to many people during trainings is what matters most. Whatever the case, I always find a way to organise them,” Simon said. 

Simon’s jovial nature makes one think that he is a man who is easily taken for granted. However, as the saying goes ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ Simon is skilled at getting the best out of people.

He said: “Training children to act or make different dance moves seems complex but once a trainer not harsh or abusive they are the easiest people to train as compared to adults.”

“Children should be taught short plays or dance moves so that they don’t get bored. While they take a break play with them interesting games that keep their minds active for instance; funny clapping styles or funny dance moves they will easily remember.”

Adults in most cases are rebellious and arrogant but the trick is to lower yourself and act like you don’t know everything.

When I’m dealing with secondary students, I tell them whatever I’m teaching them is for their own good and this motivates them; for instance the students I trained for the grand opening of Fespad were not focused since they had exams on the way. Just like children, adults have to do some sports to warm up and get into the dancing spirit.”

Simon said that, the Rwandan traditional dance has been recognised in Rwanda unlike other dances. He cited the need to promote contemporary dance as a form of cultural exchange.

“Anyone can dance since any movement in harmony with rhythm or sound from any kind of object is considered a dance move.” 

The basis of Simon’s great interpersonal skills is attributed to the Mashirika Creative and Performing Arts group and his movie role.

“I have been part of the Mashirika Creative and Performing Arts group for over a decade now,” Simon said.

“My choreography skills are ascribed to the trainings Mashirika gives. Each year we have the chance to get trained by some of Africa’s great choreographers such as; Africa Djiane (Ghana), Gotta De Piri (Ivory Coast), Jonas Byaruhanga (Uganda) and among others.”

“I have attended several workshops in Europe because of Mashirika who have extensively performed in most European cities.”

According to Simon, Mashirika made over 110 Arts performances and attended over 50 workshops.

Simon’s casted in movies like; ‘Sometimes in April’, ‘The last King of Scotland’, ‘Shooting Dogs’ and ‘Shake Hands with the Devil’.

“Being in charge of extras, directing the actors on stage or at the grounds on set while casting in ‘Sometime in April’ was a turning point in my life. It’s where I acquired skills of dealing with friendly people,” Simon explains.

Simon Iyarwema is not married but he craves to have a loving woman as the first priority in the many qualities of his potential wife.

His Favourites:

Dish: Chips & Beef
Colour:-Black & White
Sport: - Soccer
Soccer team: - Local (APR), International (Arsenal)
Soccer Player: - Cesc Fabregas 
Car: - Latest Volkswagen
Music: - Any rhythm from a drum
Drummer: - Africa Djiane
Quote:- “If you think you can, you can, if you think you can’t your right.” 


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