On Saturday 18th August the CAC performance hall was full of dancers and their fans from 8 local secondary schools who were participating in the School Dance Competition. This is part of the CAC's outreach programmes which were begun by Carol Stubbs. CAC dancers went out to the schools for 6 afternoons, and then on the Saturday they all came together to show each other what they had learned, and to compete.
This year we began with each school planting a mpingo tree in memory of Carol. These trees were part of a donation through Daraja Music Initiative, and coordinated by Gary Sperl. Mpingo is the national tree of Tanzania and is often used for carvings and making instruments, including the Western clarinet.
The dancing was opened an opportunity for the students to see their teachers perform as the CAC dancers took to the stage.
The three judges were all selected for their expertise in Tanzanian traditional dancing and music. This year they were Awadh Mwinyi, Beda Mwitu and Salome Liyando. The guest of honour was the Cultural Officer of the Meru District, Senyaeli Pallangyo, who spoke of the importance of keeping Tanzanian traditions alive, especially through its young people.
This year the selected dance was Bugobogobo from the Sukuma people in Mwanza. It celebrates agriculture and uses the jembe, or hoe. It was selected because this year the outreach project was running over Nane Nane, Tanzania's Day for Farmers and learning about agriculture.
The winning school was Usa River Academy, followed by Makumira Secondary, and with Poli Secondary in third place.
Best dancers were Zulfa Abdallah (Muungano Secondary) and Samuel Zacharia (Uraki Secondary), and Best Drummer was Ester Mariki (Muungano Secondary).
A great day was had by all, and a special thank you goes to the CAC teachers who did such a great job teaching their students. We are already looking forward to the competition next year!
If you would like to support our School Outreach Programme and ensure it continues in the future, you can find out more information here: http://www.cac.ac.tz/support-us/