Friedrich Nietzsche once said that “we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once” and at the Dance Trust of Zimbabwe (formally National Ballet of Zimbabwe), dance is bringing smiles to faces each and every day. An Oak grantee with the Zimbabwe Programme since 1997, the Dance Trust of Zimbabwe (DTZ) is now the heart of Zimbabwe’s dance community. Located in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare, DTZ’s studios were built in 1980. Today, the DTZ comprises of four different arms: the Dance Foundation Course, Tumbuka Contemporary Dance Company, the National Ballet and the DTZ Outreach Programme.
The Dance Foundation Course is an intensive three-year dance training course including various types of dance education: ballet, contemporary, tap, traditional and theory. The course has produced more than 100 graduates who can go on to become trained dancers in the Tumbuka Dance Company and teachers in the Outreach Programme.
The Tumbuka Dance Company’s mission is to find the most gifted Zimbabwean youth, develop their skills in contemporary dance, fuse this knowledge with the richness of the Zimbabwean culture and produce a company which performs for the widest possible audience. Since their first performance in Johannesburg in March 1993, Tumbuka has toured extensively throughout the African and European Festival Circuits including in Botswana, Malawi, the Ivory Coast, France, Germany, Switzerland, the UK, Denmark and Belize.
The National Ballet of Zimbabwe conducts nationwide tours and maintains some of the highest quality facilities in the country which are used by the other arms of DTZ. The National Ballet and Tumbuka Company often collaborate for performances such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream or Pocahontas.
The DTZ Outreach Programme teaches disabled children dance on a weekly basis and is the only centre of its kind in the country. “We try to teach them that their disabilities can be surmounted. It helps them with coordination, focus and expression of feelings through movement, music and dance” said Maria Tereza Carter, Chairman of Trustees at DTZ. Dance can help children discover their identities and can give them a sense of belonging and self worth. “When I grow up I want to teach dance to other children,” said one participant in the programme, “I am pushing my body to do things I never thought I could do.” “I hope to share the power and joy of dancing,” added another. Each year the students participate in the Outreach Dance Festival showcasing what they’ve learnt.
All four of these inter-connected elements combine to provide the best dance training in the country and give Zimbabwean dancers the chance to realise their dreams.