Choreography an untapped gold mine

BY SHARON SIBINDI

Dance and the art of choreography are said to involve the specification of human movement and form in terms of shape, space, time, energy within an emotional or non-literal context.

While artistes can make a killing from dance and the art of choreography, they are, however, failing to capitalise on it as they underrate the art that has been used in designing different types of dances.

In an interview with Newsday Life & Style, yesterday, artistes across genres said although choreography was important in the sector, it was underrated.

Award-winning artiste Mzoe7 yesterday said he was making a killing from choreography.

“I think theatre has been much welcoming of choreography and dance groups, but it is usually in house choreography.

“It’s rare for them to hire a different independent choreographer,” he said.

“We need workshops going forward on the importance of choreography in the sector.

“On my side, it’s mostly events, promotions, one-on-one, music videos, weddings, awards that I have been able to do choreography for.”

Award-winning dancer, choreographer and Iyasa group member Mbongeni Nxumalo said it was important to value choreography.

“The sector understands choreography, but it’s not as much as they understand music because I believe right after music there is dance, so sometimes I always tell others that I see choreography as a parcel that can be added or not,” he said.

“For some of us to have an enjoyable performance and good moves, we need choreography.

As an up-and-coming choreographer Nxumalo opened Marcel studio of choreography which offers choreography, dance classes and personal fitness training as part of his effort to promote dance.

“I see choreography growing and I want to see it easily understood.

“I see it growing only if we are given the opportunity to make it grow,” he said.

“Last year was a brainstorming year for me as an up-and-coming choreographer as I tried hard to push for Marcel studio of choreography, dance, fitness and styling.

“I used every opportunity wisely and I couldn’t undermine the work being done.

“I will do my best to ensure dance and choreography are valued,” he said.

Nxumalo said he had choreographed for artistes such as award-winning songstress Sandra Ndebele (pictured), Iyasa, Tebza, Dream House Construction Company, Ashleigh Love and Leona.

Another choreographer Mehluli “Gomez” Dube said, while the art of choreography in Bulawayo was well-recognised, most dance companies did not believe in engaging those with expertise in choreography and dance.

“Most dancers and dance companies whom I will not mention by name believe that they can choreograph their craft without help, which is wrong.

“They need us for their dance productions so that whatever they create is not in their comfort zone and it will help them and the dance industry to grow generation by generation,” he said.

Gomez believes the world realised the importance of choreography during the global COVID-19-induced lockdown where many  in the world including Zimbabweans participated in the famous Jerusalema dance challenge.

“The disappointing part of realising the importance of choreographers here in Bulawayo is from our colleagues, the people we share the same status with chiefly musicians who don’t see the value of investing in choreographers,” he said.

“Some musicians prefer to hire a dance group for a music video or don’t bother at all.

“For a music video that needs dance routines, a choreographer is needed and those are simple basics that I expect all the musicians to know. A choreographer has two eyes — one for the dance and one for the viewer.”

Gomez said his rich choreographer curriculum vitae did not reflect the life he is living as he is struggling to provide for his family.

“We all know the situation in the country in terms of the economy which is not friendly for everyone, but the arts sector I feel it is in a worse situation than other sectors,” he said.

“At present I am still struggling preaching to Bulawayo that I am a choreographer yet these past four years I have choreographed at big events hosted in Bulawayo.

For me if it was not for choreographing for bridal teams, weddings, the clients who have been interested in my work, I would not have survived this far.

“This has been my source of income ever since the lockdown regulations were eased.”

Gomez said he saw growth in the choreography sector in the coming years.

“I am very much sure that in about five years’ time we will be talking of choreography and choreographers highly.

“I just want to encourage all the dancers, who aspire to be choreographers in future, to try to be creative,” he said.

“Choreographers must have creative talent because they rely on their own ideas to choreograph dance routines.

“They must be able to translate ideas into physical movements, be willing to experiment with new ideas, if original ideas don’t pan out.”

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