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Walter Ruva unites dance community in a brickyard

If there is one thing the local dance industry has managed to achieve over music, film and theatre, it must be the ability to work together.

Very many times, you will see a dance showcase bringing together dance companies from all walks of life, even those you may not have known see eye to eye.

And it was basically the story of Walter Ruva’s choreographed Dance Choir Mu Kirombe that was staged at the National Theatre on Monday night.

For a man known for his moves and of course his Tuesday dance classes, it was not surprising that he has a number of admirers many of whom showed up as part of the audience, but of his charisma was also vivid on stage.

A cast of A-list dancers he had on his roster, are friends from companies like Soul Expressions, Splash, Tabu Flo, Breakdance Project Uganda, Vzuri Dance Company and Tuzinne Festival among others.

With this group of elite dancers, Walter went ahead to experiment with his props like burnt bricks, costumes that involved suits, telling a story of a brick lair and a sub story of his bricks.

The showpiece whose rehearsals partly took place in a real brickyard kicks off with many bricks laid on the ground to dry and others pilled up for burning.

On one corner, the set presents us a brick layer kick starting his day but this time round though, Walter uses the stage not to only break down the job but also tell us that laying bricks is as important a job like all the white collar ones.

And thus the choice of costumes, his bricklayer for instance starts the day in casual clothes but then changes to a suit and starts working; of course this was the choreographer presenting the job with the kind of respect people have not accorded it.

Dancers like Lillian Nabaggala, Oscar Ssenyonga, Joan Nambalirwa and Frank Mugisha among others helped bring Dance Chior Mu Kirombe vision to life, of course some of the things were abstract.

But the story that included trials and sacrifices one makes in this kind of job, on top of being laughed at – a drunkard that staggered through the performance before joining other dancers at times represented some of this.

The show did well technically since it heavily depended on sound – unlike many dance shows that use pre-recorded music, Walter delved into live music and thus inviting the brilliance of Kenneth Mugabi, Kaz Kasozi and Giovanni Kremer Kiyingi that sang and gave the dancers a soundtrack.

Mugabi had performed his Nkwegomba with Frank Mugisha doing a dance routine, a fine delivery by the singer but practically suffered with the dancer’s choreography – much of it looked rushed and not very rehearsed.

Of course, the biggest problem faced was a fact that the show did not have a lighting script, or if they had one, they did not use it that much; this stole so much from what would have been an unforgettable experience.

But as Walter says, they plan to have the show staged more times, hope we can look at this as a work in progress that will get its technical and storyboard together for the future.

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