The need to safeguard Nigeria’s culture and tradition was the focus of a dance performance put together by a Lagos-based dance company, Theatre Centrik, AGOZIMO AGOZINO writes
The Creative art hall of University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, Lagos, recently reverberated with dance that put the guests in thrilling mood. In fact, bated breath and claps of hands marked a one-day dance performance, organised by Lagos- based dance theatre group, Theartre centric.
Tagged: Ara’n bada, the event which was filled to the capacity by students saw the presentation of a choreographed dance performance which sought to take a deeper explorative look at the concept of dance as an Nigerian tradition that must not be forgotten in Africa’s attempt at modernisation.
The performance kicked off when suddenly, the lighting in the hall was switched off at about 7.45 pm, 15 minutes behind schedule. The dancers, eight in all, four male and four female comprised the group who danced side by side. The first two set of four dancers introduced the audience to the kind of experience expected.
They emerged in traditional attire and started dancing and gesticulating with head and hands (as if possessed by spirit) making several simultaneous sound but not talking. Suddenly, another female dancer emerged with a talking drum, joined by wrapper tying dancer who now danced simultaneously to the instruction of the drummer.
The high point of the show was the special performance when the female dancers climbed on top of the male dancers with hands raised up in gesticulation. The display held the audience rapt until the female dancers jumped down. Big talking drums were brought to the stage with standby chorus. After the side by side dance, all dancers later danced together.
The performance written and directed Tony Biyi Boyede explores Nigerian rich dance cultural heritage. The central theme of the event was to showcase Nigerian dance and dance language.Theatre Centrik the body that hosted performance staged in collaboration with the Creative Arts Students Association, of UNILAG. It was a colorful outing that thrilled guests with a showcase of Nigeria’s cultural root. The theme of the performance was Dance as a tool for cultural renaissance and development.
In his remark, Biyi Boyede Ara’n bada informed that is a Theatre Centrik initiative to celebrate Africa’s rich cultural heritage. Boyede said the event, which was the fifth season, was an avenue for lovers of dance to savor the best of Nigerian cultural dance prtformance. The cast of chorographers includes Agnes Greg, Tony Moore, Judith Nwosu, Olusola Afolabi, Precious Onyeabor, John Okpa, Omobola Majekodumi, Throwing more light, Boyede, said the essence of the outing was not just to showcase what the body can offer but a way of celebrating talents. Accordimg to him, ‘‘Dance is not just someone, somewhere or somehow. But dance is everyone, everywhere and perfect.
It is the language we speak to identify our self to the root. The dances of our forefathers give us the true essence of their beliefs and value. Dance is made for laughter, mourning, celebration, ritual performance and the likes. Dance is not just what we do at a point but what we do at all times.’’
Asked to comment on how long it takes the group to come out with the event, Boyede recalled that it was not an easy task having to work on the stage. According to him, for over seven months before getting on stage, the group has trained and practiced different types of performances.
He believes that one-day dance would not just serve as a medium of entertainment but a process of communicating change and a viable tool for economic boost. Boyede also disclosed the celebration of Ara’n bada has given Theatre Centrik a platform to express what they feel to be a communicative change of society.
Student of the Creative Arts, were glad to host the cultural event. For some of the students who spoke immediately after the show, it was an opportunity to learn more of the culture and dance heritage of the country. Dignitaries at the performance include: Mr. Steve James, National President Guild of Nigerian Dancers, Mr. Williams Ekpo, Stanley Stanchess, Pelumi Baba, Awele, Ebi-Pre bai Secretary Guild of Nigeria Dancers, National. Others are, Mr Victor Nkanwanta Director Victory performing Troupe, Yeye Oge of Akoka, Yinka Fowowe Grailand , Ayola Julius, Emmanuel Ovien among others.
*this was published in the Daily Times dated Monday, December 29, 2014