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Batalo: Traditional meets urban dance

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1. Ceasar, Showcasing at the Dance Fest 2015. 2. Vizuri Crew showcasing at the Dance Fest 2015. 3. Lilian .M. Nabaggala performing at the Dance Fest 2015. 4. Denis from Slovakia doing Afro house at the Dance Fest 2015.
Ceasar, Vizuri Crew, Lilian .M. Nabaggala and Denis from Slovakia showcasingat the Dance Fest 2015. COURTESY PHOTOS

It is that time of the year again. The Batalo Dance Festival – workshops, performances, talks and competitions in dance styles from hip hop to Bakisimba, with fusions of traditional and modern dance.

The Batalo Dance Festival returns to the Uganda’s National Theatre  August 27 and 28.

This festival concludes another year of monthly workshops and regional dance exchanges with dancers from around East Africa as well as France, Sweden, Germany, Tanzania and the DRC.

“Artists in Uganda these days have lost the connection to their cultural roots. This event reminds today’s youth to embrace where they come from, like the farmer dance move in-house can be found in Ekitagururo from Western Uganda. There’s pride in that,”  said Keyshia Drichiru, Batalo East Programmes Coordinator.

Batalo East is a not-for-profit organization founded in 2013 in Uganda, which brings traditional and urban dances together to encourage young people to incorporate traditional African art forms into their lives and artistry. Batalo works towards preserving authentic traditional art forms, promoting, educating and developing young people as socially conscious global citizens.

It is composed of members from Tabu Flo Dance Company, Breakdance Project Uganda and other dance organizations. Batalo East offers workshops ” Equations” at National Theatre every last Saturday of the month.

“You have to come see the Batalo East Dance Festival with your own eyes, because the way they fuse the traditional and modern dance styles, I haven’t seen anywhere before,” an official Edriana Kabajungu, said.

Saturday August 27 will start with dance eliminations in the styles of Afro House, Top Rock, Krump, New style Hip Hop, Style Yake and all style crew battles, along with showcases. A Hip Hop Theatre evening will start at 7:30pm on Saturday evening in the main auditorium, followed by an after party upstairs at the CICP.

On Sunday, free dance workshops will begin at 3pm, and from 5pm the competition will get started with semi-finals and finals in dance competitions to determine winners in all categories, and featuring showcase performance by artists from Uganda and around the world. On both days, there will be an on going urban market, and you can expect to find a lot of traditional meets urban fusion in the clothing available for purchase. Tickets are at sh10,000.

Batalo East is presented in partnership withSTITCHING DOEN, Uganda National Cultural Centre (UNCC), Fenon Records, Alliance Française Kampala, Vijana Vipaji Foundation, TabuFlo, Urban Market.

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