Serge Nehimana is the group leader of Inganzo Ngari a dance troupe whose pulsating beats and graceful dances has become one of must see performances at many festivals both in Rwanda and overseas.
This year they were part of the Sauti za Busara festival where they performed on two stages at the Forodhani Gardens and at the Ngome Kongwe stage.
The group has been around for 12 years bringing to the fore front some of the best dance export from Rwanda. This week Nehimana speaks to the Beat on their journey so far.
Where did the idea of creating this group come from?
This was after realizing how Intore (dancers) were living in a miserable economic situation, we thought of creating a troupe that is oriented to the well-being of Intore in order to find a sustainable solution to that problem.
Where did the members come from was there a special recruitment drive (who qualifies)?
The dancers come from almost every part of Rwanda, at the beginning the troupe was started by founders it was a group of around 25 people and after that these founders recruited slow by slow the best dancers in the country.
What did you hope to achieve by creating this group?
We always had a vision of creating a sustainable group that will keep on benefiting socially and economically its members in addition we believed that this will benefit different generation that is why we kept on adding new members to the group even after we felt we had enough members. This is because those who are around right now cannot dance forever.
What dominates the theme of your dances and who coordinates the choreography?
Just like many African societies every dance has its meaning and every show can have its theme this means that the theme can change. But generally it’s about social,economic,cultural and history of Rwandans and I have to mention that it is it’s purely traditional.
What has been the story so far?
This group have been growing over the years so far I have to admit that it is the best in Rwanda and we have many projects ahead with many tours lined up for us.
I understand that you have toured widely. Where have you been so far and what do you think is the secret to the group’s success?
I think that the secret dwells in self-determination of always making the difference we always aim at bringing something new that is the good enough for the audience. You don’t expect them to keep coming back if it is the same old show.
When the group members are not dancing what are they doing?
Ours is a large group with different people some dance professionally and others are employed in some other companies but we also have students who are still in school.
Do you think dance as a powerful tool can be used to preserve and promote culture?
Dance remains one of the most iconic tools to Rwandan culture and according to testimonies Rwandan traditional dance is very famous worldwide
As a group does this kind of thing pay the bills and what else do you do apart from dancing?
Yes of course it is included in the entertainment industry and I have to say that from dancing people manage to take care of their households, paying school fees etc. Apart from dancing this group also do art crafts, music, fashion design, decoration, it participates in the community development activities, charities and many others. One of the aims of this group is to preserve the culture and to do that we also teach the culture we organize cultural camps to teach children and adults about Rwandan Culture