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Ankole dancers break stage to win Chibuku, Mbarara

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Dancing away: Two months ago, the Chibuku dance competitions were launched and next Friday curtains will fall for the last time at the National Theatre and the winning team will walk away with Shs3m. Lawrence Ogwal writes.

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As the Chibuku competitions draw to an end, the last upcountry visit happened in Mbarara. The competitions took place at the Independence Grounds on Independence Day.
Apart from the huge crowd, the revellers seemed bored by the same performances. No group came out their comfort zone to work out the crowd with rare dance types. Eight groups all came on stage performing the Kinyaruguru and Kitagururo dance.
At first the dances were entertaining but then the crowd started getting bored as the dance routines were turning out monotonous.
The eight groups also did folk songs in which they sang in Runyankore, a language everyone was familiar with, they sang the songs with actions which involved the aggressiveness in the Kitagururo dance. They broke the stage twice as the organisers kept on replacing the broken boards.
At the climax, the Ankole Cultural performers emerged winners as they walked home with Shs500,000 with a set of bikooyi (a cultural wear). The second group was Ankole Cultural Dancers, who bagged Shs300,000 and other Chibuku branded goodies.
When organisers announced that this year’s Chibuku Shake Shake traditional dance competitions will also involve cultural performers from upcountry, it was evident the competitions would be tight.

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For the past two months that the competitions have been taking place, upcountry groups have not been at their best. They are only stuck to one type of dance, they are predictable in a way that when you go to Masaka, you find Kiganda dance, Mbale will serve you the Imbalu dance and Kisoga dance in Jinja et al.
The competitions in and around Kampala are competitive and epic. This is perhaps because the central region comprises of people from all walks of life. During the competitions, different groups perform dances from different regions in Uganda; they play instruments from different cultures.
The finals of the competitions will take place next Friday at the National theatre gardens. The winner will take home Shs3m and instruments.

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