Umoja troupe dances into Kampala lore
Posted Saturday, October 19 2013 at 01:00
The Umoja Cultural Flying Carpet whooshed through Uganda’s airspace, making a landing in Kampala. For this tour, it started from Tanzania, where the troupe staged two shows in Arusha and Bagamoyo, through Nairobi, Kenya before making it here for the shows last weekend at Theatre Labonita.
There are a lot of good things to say about the event. First and foremost, it started exactly at 7:30pm as had been slated. How common is that in Uganda?
Secondly, the production made up of artistes from five countries, namely Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Norway, and Ethiopia was as captivating as a show with barely any speaking can be.
It was a fusion of circus acts, live perfomances, instrumentals and various forms of dance. This year’s show topped the previous one. At least that is what one Umoja shows devotee opined of the annual event. This is the third time the Umoja Flying Carpet is making a stop-over in Kampala.
At the start of the one and a half hour show, one did not know what to expect. Yes, the performers were putting in their best but the audience, who had paid Shs20,000 to watch the show, seemed to be unsure of how this was going to go.
The dancing seemed heavily founded on ballet and the reaction they garnered was at most a smattering of applause.
But the pace picked up and by the time the Bakisimba Performers hit the stage, there were cheers and catcalls. As the show progressed, even those contemporary moves begun to draw more reactions.
However, it was the circus acts performed almost exclusively by Ethiopia that people reserved their most applause for. It was amazing. The all-girl group displayed agility and flexibility like no other.
There was a juggling act that left mouths agape. When the girls performed their gravity defying bits, my heart jumped in my mouth. When they contorted their bodies in unbelievable ways, you could feel the tension in the audience, the bated breath “no, she is not going to do” that moment. But then she did and it was breathtaking.
It was an energetic show which is more impressive if you take into account that the troupe had been through a whirlwind tour performing and travelling from country to country.
About UMOJA CFC
Work: The UMOJA Cultural Flying Carpet (CFC) is a programme working for peace and development of society through international cultural collaboration.
Members: It brings together artistes from five different countries (Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Norway) in the spirit of “growing through creating together”.
Funding: The programme is funded by the Norwegian Embassy, which works with local partners. In Uganda the partners are Makerere University school of Theatre Film and Performing arts.
Visits: UMOJA CFC visited Kampala for the first time in September 2011, when it arranged the UMOJA Festival 2011