The National Ballet centre, situated on East Road in Belgravia, was on Sunday morning seriously damaged after the roof caved in leaving the building unsafe and unusable.
The Dance Trust of Zimbabwe (DTZ) announced the collapse of the centre, built 35 years ago, and had housed and trained the national dancing community for decades, was a major disaster that cast a dark cloud over the future of dance in Zimbabwe.
“Rebuilding the National Ballet Centre is critical to ensure all the gains over the past 35years are not jeopardised,” said DTZ chairman Tereza Carter.
Carter said the centre is important to the development of dance in the country and its reconstruction should be a matter of urgency.
She said all dancers, teachers, parents and friends of dance community had been devastated by the news as it spread on Sunday.
“The centre has staged many shows over the years including its annual dance festival, Starlight Dancing, and it is also registered as a Royal Academy of Dance examination centre.
Its facilities are used daily by many of Zimbabwe’s top dance studios and dancers including the Tumbuka Contemporary Dance Company, The Dance Foundation Course, The Outreach Project and the National Ballet dancers themselves,” said Carter.
She said when the centre initially opened, it focused on classical ballet and later it was realised it was essential to take dance to the community as a whole, especially to the high-density suburbs.
A project called Vana Vanotamba (Children who Dance) was initiated at the centre and ensured dance classes were held in Harare’s high-density suburbs.
A few dancers, who showed potential, were awarded scholarships to learn ballet at a more advanced level from classical teachers.
“Since then other successful initiatives came up and dance foundation courses have been successfully run. The fifth course started in July 2008 and is currently running,” said Carter.
She said the outreach team had identified talented youngsters in the community, who were invited to audition for the dance foundation course. Talented course graduates had been taken into Tumbuka as professional dancers.
Tumbuka Company members are an integral part of the training course as they are involved in teaching the students on a regular basis, are disciplined role models, and inspirational leaders.
“Outreach dance festivals are attempted every year to afford the children an opportunity to dance in public and one is currently in rehearsal and due to be staged on November 26 2011 at The Dutch Reformed Church,” said Carter.
She said well wishers, friends and the corporate world were requested to contact The Dance Trust of Zimbabwe for information about the renovation of the centre.