Shaking off the blues with dance

By Rosalia David

OMBETJA Yehinga Organisation (OYO) dance troupe has partnered up with Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre (FNCC) to facilitate a dancing workshop, ‘Dance with us’, which aims to revive dancing activities that have been on a standstill for most of the year due to Covid-19.

The OYO dance troupe is popularly known for its performances highlighting social issues such as gender-based violence, HIV/AIDS and teenage pregnancy amongst others.

Speaking to Confidente after the second workshop that took place on Saturday, OYO director Philippe Talavera said they had up to 20 attendees who had a blast learning new exciting dance moves.

“We had created easy to learn pieces on Covid-19; how to wash your hands or wear a mask. So in collaboration with the FNCC we started a series of workshops. This Saturday, space was really limited, due to social distancing. We could only have 30 people inside (with the possibility of having another extra 20 people outside.”

He said, after a long time of not being able to perform to a live audience, the troupe was excited to be back again on stage while offering the best experience throughout their series of workshops.

“The troupe performs in schools, communities, during public events and on special occasions but mid-March, the pandemic forced the troupe to cancel all its performances and instead started focusing on recording educational clips. However working for the camera is not the same as performing to a live audience. As a troupe, we were missing interacting with people,” Talavera said.

After their virtual performances failed, in July the troupe came up with the notion of facilitating dancing workshops for free.

Talavera added that members of the public have shown a lot of interest in the dancing workshops saying that all what people want is to listen to good music and shake off all negativities of the day.

“The first workshop in July was a success but with new regulations in August we had to postpone the other workshops. The second one took place early October and the last one was this last Saturday,” he said adding that he was not sure when exactly the next workshop would take place but however assured resumption next year.

Apart from promoting dance, Mary Andreas, dancer and leader of the workshop said the workshops were also an opportunity for participants to interact.

“It was exciting to be with people again, it was fun sharing some of the moves. People realised it is not so easy to dance especially when we play fast music, but, it was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it. ‘Dance with us’ might resume depending on demand and the schedule of the dance troupe,” she said adding that they were currently working on a 2021 programme.