A few things we found about the National Song and Dance Company of Mozambique:
Urban Bush Women, an American contemporary dance ensemble, and the National Song and Dance Company of Mozambique have collaborated for four years. In Shadow's Child, seven Urban Bush Women dancers, three artists from the Mozambique troupe, and a percussionist perform a dance theatre work about a girl who moves with her parents from Mozambique to the United States. In America, she is teased by both White and Black children for being different. Her only solace is at night, when because of her especially dark skin she can move about unseen. Amid the cover of darkness, the creatures of the night merge with the spirits of her ancestors to speak about recognizing her gifts. The evening-length work embraces issues such as tolerance, strength in difficult times, and self worth.
SONG AND DANCE COMPANY OF MOZAMBIQUE
(from 2000 program notes, from http://cub.wsu.edu/VPLAC/archive/99-00/6.htm).
When Mozambique became independent in 1975, the restoration of Mozambican cultural values which had been suppressed by the Portuguese colonial regime for 500 years was one of the Mozambican government's major goals. This led in 1979 to the creation of the national song and dance company of Mozambique, known in Portuguese--the official language of the Republic of Mozambique--as Companhia Nacional de Canto e Danca (C.N.D.C.). Initially the group was formed by 30 non-professional artists from all across Mozambique who would practice dance and poetry during free times. Today the company is composed of 50 professional ballerinas and musicians who perform all over the world.
The repertoire of C.N.D.C. consists of traditional folkloric dances from Mozambique that are passed on from generation to generation as well as contemporary dance and fusion pieces. The Song and Dance Company regularly combines its growing international touring schedule with extensive travel to all the provinces within its home country so that the members can meet with village elders and "refresh themselves with the culture that they're trying to bring forth."
A typical performance by C.N.D.C. will include traditional dances such as Makway and Ngoma. Makway originated in the central part of the country and is a dance of joy. It is generally performed in wedding ceremonies by groups of men representing both the groom and bride's families competing among themselves just to entertain the guests. Ngoma was a dance designed to get Nguni warriors ready for battle.
Other dances relate to the experiences of colonialism and the efforts to end it. A dance called Niquetxe expressed the frustration of the people who were forced to labor in tea plantations owned by foreign companies. Originally it was performed in a mourning situation, generally six months after burial. The Nondje dance emerged in the province of Cabo Delgado during the war for the independence of Mozambique. Nondje means "giant tree".
One of the contemporary pieces often performed is a suite of
dances called The Sun Has Up-Risen, created for the celebration
of the 10th anniversary of the independence of Mozambique. Gathering
dances from all parts of Mozambique, the suite represents a specific
attempt to affirm national solidarity in a country where the people
speak 16 different languages.
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