By Walter Gabriel Busuulwa

It will be a glamour packed event as Uganda’s biggest dance festival will be graced by dozens of African Dance crews that will include a distinctive DESTINO Dance Company from Ethiopia.

Among the crews and individual acts will be Michèle Moss of Decidedly Jazz Danceworks (DJD) and the School of Creative and Performing Arts at the University of Calgary in Canada; guests from Music and Dance Africa (MuDA) in Tanzania, East African Nights of Tolerance (EANT) from Rwanda, and dancers from as far away as Egypt, Zimbabwe, the eastern DRC and throughout Uganda.

The fifth annual Batalo Dance Fest will be at the Ndere Cultural Centre this year, and promises workshops, competitions and performances showcasing groundbreaking new fusion of traditional and urban dance.

The Fest welcomes dancers and spectators of all kinds, with tickets available at the box office at only 10k for adults and free for children under 10 years. For this year’s Dance Fest, Batalo East will host DESTINO Dance Company from Ethiopia; Michèle Moss of Decidedly Jazz Danceworks (DJD) and the School of Creative and Performing Arts at the University of Calgary in Canada; guests from Music and Dance Africa (MuDA) in Tanzania, East African Nights of Tolerance (EANT) from Rwanda, and dancers from as far away as Egypt, Zimbabwe, the eastern DRC and throughout Uganda.

The Fest will start with an intensive five-day dance programme, the Batalo East Academy, from 21st – 25th August. This is a unique opportunity for 45 dancers who have applied from around Africa to participate in classes taught by local and international experts on dance pedagogy, fusion technique and conditioning.

On the evening of Friday 25 August 2017 at 7 PM, Batalo East hosts the first ever Urban Films Festival (UFF) final in Africa, a short urban film and dance film competition, in partnership with Alliance Française Kampala. The winner of the short film section of the UFF will to take part in the global UFF final in France.

A team of French videographers will film eight selected dancers from east Africa who will later compete in a video dance battle, alongside the short film competition. On Saturday 26 August 2017 from noon/12 PM, over 100 talented dancers will battle it out in dance eliminations for Afro House, Top Rock, Krump, New style Hip Hop, Style Yake and all style crew battles, along with dance showcases and open workshops, all the way through to the finals.

The DRC dancers always bring strong competition – will the Ugandan dancers prevail and take the trophies? On Sunday 27 August 2017 at 7 PM, Batalo East presents an evening of East Africa’s best hip hop and social development dance theatre performances in collaboration with over seven carefully-selected dance companies.

Come prepared to see the top choreography and social messages being produced by dancers throughout the region – impactful urban traditional fusion for your senses! There will be an ongoing urban market throughout the Fest where you can expect to find traditional meets urban fusion in clothing and other merchandise available for purchase.

Batalo East was formed to build a bridge between traditional and urban dance, encouraging young people and dancers to value and incorporate traditional African art forms into their lives and artistry alongside their development as global citizens and artists on the international stage.

Batalo Dance Fest is presented in partnership with: Stichting DOEN, Ndere Cultural Centre, Magic 1HD, Alliance Française Kampala, Urban Films Festival, Viva Con Agua, Tabu Flo Dance Company and Urban Market.

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