Back then, there were only a few churches and Christian organisations in Uganda that embraced dance as a way of expressing worship or evangelism; in fact, most churches regarded it as ‘quite inappropriate.’
“Nothing will separate us from the love of God!”, “Nothing will separate us from the love of God” These where some of lines in the script recited at the National theatre stage when the Clay dancers an energetic group of gifted Christian dancers trudged the floor to celebrate their 10 year journey in Dance.
Indeed it was the love of God that in an unusual manner, the Watoto Church based Dance Company that was produced by celebrated Dance Organization Batalo East pulled off two shows in one day on a same stage as they performed their piece dubbed ‘The Gathering in the Theatre Auditorium’.
Most times event’s organizers tend to wait for the audience but it was a different story for Clay dancers as the audience was there to wait. The presence of the show could be felt that even with no sponsor burners in the vicinity.
The Clay dancers who usually perform in Church graced the National theatre stage that has seen amazing dance acts like ‘I am a female’, ‘Tonsindika’, ‘Dance Choir’ among many others proves that the pulpit based dancers might be weighing in for the wild to compete with the main stream Dance companies. The dance group never keep their audience bored that besides the audience relating with some dance strokes like the Ghanaian ‘Pilolo’ dance that kept many in the audience relating and screaming, the dancers kept fusing tradition with Urban to keep their audience entertained.
Before entering the auditorium, they put up several fascinating opening acts at the theatre Monument and the main entrance porch that kept the audience wanting for more. The Clay faith theme dance piece was a tale of church and the wild fused with dance to paint a picture of a youth fighting Satan.
The Chief Executive Director of Batalo Dance Company that produced the show explains that the Clays’ performance comes to bridge the gap between talent in the Pentecostal churches and the mainstream dance industry. “Besides churches using dance for worshiping or evangelism, we believe that talents can spread from churches to the mainstream to grow talents and create jobs” Abdul Kinyenya added.
Clay Dance Company coordinator Ms. Lillian Allyinza noted that even when the performance was a success it is pauses a great challenge for them to work harder to match other dance groups that are in the industry. “10 years has been a journey we started off as contemporary dancers, but now we are versatile and our membership grown to 70 people that where part the production,” Ms Lillian explained.