Nakaweesa rises on dance: Ugandan-born talent shines on world stage
Catherine Nakaweesa is possibly among Uganda’s leading dancers and choreographers
On stage she is able to turn her body into a malleable form that she can twist and turn at will to make very complex dance moves to the beat of a variety of music genres, writes Nathan Kiwere.
To her, dance is not simply to be understood or enjoyed at face value but it is an interpretation of very deep visual revelations that are usually concealed in a kind of abstraction that requires a heightened sense of awareness.
In Uganda and around the world she is able to hypnotise her audiences with her gifted feet.
She practices applied dance; the ability to make dance relevant to everyday living and well-being, which is what drove her to shelve a career in Electrical Engineering.
Upon graduation from Makerere University in 2005, when many thought the windows of opportunity had now swung open for her to scale the heights of the corporate ladder as an engineer, she opted to follow her childhood dream and hit the dance stage. It was a bold move that is quite typical of a woman who describes herself as nonconformist.
She had been dancing all along, having been first exposed to contemporary dance in 2001, while a first year student at Makerere. But she immersed herself in learning, training, and gaining experience. She has since attended various foreign and local arts institutions that include; L’ Ecole Des Sables, Senegal (2011/2013), CDC La Termitiere Ouagadougou (2012), University of Cape Town (2009), Laban, London (2008) and Kampala Ballet & Modern Dance School (2005).
She has trained and performed in traditional African dances, contemporary/modern dance, classical ballet, choreography, contact improvisation, contemporary African dance, the fusion techniques of Africa dance legend Germaine Acogny, hip hop, and more recent techniques such flying low and Gaga.
Today, she is a dancer, choreographer, and writer defying convention and stereotyping to rise to the top of Uganda’s contemporary dance performance scene.
She’s the Artistic Director of Beautiful Feet Dance Company, which has mostly engaged in projects with female dancers, and is co-founder of Clay Dance Company, which runs programs to mentor young people through dance.
She is also the Creative Director of Viva! Dance, a program of Viva (U) Ltd, a health and wellness company which employs among other tools dance, to help people experience holistic living. Her dance career has seen her tour countries including South Africa, Tunisia, Belgium, Austria, Israel and South Korea.