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Tanzania, The Arts

Ibuka Dance Meets Chicken-on-the-Bonnet

March 4, 2015

The first sentence for this essay that came to mind as I sat entranced under jacaranda trees last Saturday night, was, “There are no words to describe this and sadly because I am not a professional or even an avid photographer, I do not have my camera with me. How could I possibly describe these sights, these sounds, these feelings?”

Hmm. I guess I could simply begin by describing the scene in which I felt truly part of by our new Arusha home.

Alex, Anna, Layla and I along with our new family from Kimemo, Sas (a sobriquet for Sarah) and her sister Denise have arrived at the Ibuka Dance theatre atop Themi Hill, south of Arusha. We stand at the top row of an amphitheatre. My eyes scan the scene and I am caught completely off guard by Mt. Meru hazy in the last of the evening sun dwarfing the stage roof. My eyes move overhead to a half moon directly above. Wow, I say to Anna, look at that, gesturing to the mountain. She takes my hand and encourages me down the stairs about midway to a row of cushioned benches.

I am a bit stunned. When Sas invited us to accompany her and Denise to Ibuka’s performance she described Ibuka as a labor of love of an American girl whom Sas wanted to support. I had envisioned a small, unprofessional indoor dance studio. I certainly should have known better, at least about the indoor part. Everything here in North-Eastern Tanzania is outside, schools, businesses, restaurants. Why not a dance studio?

Alex disappears and then reappears Continue Reading…