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Dance for Change Trust recently hosted a multicultural dance production at Botho University Hall. The production, titled ‘Trilochana’, included the talents of the Mogwana traditional dance group, singer Tebogo Matsebi, and an Indian Classical Dancer, Nayana Iyer. The main objectives of the production were to show the vital interconnectedness of the Botswana and Indian cultures, raise money for The Happy Hearts Project, as well as for the revival of the ‘Botswana Music Camp’.
The show was opened with remarks by the High Commissioner of India to Botswana, Dr. Rajesh Ranjan who reaffirmed the importance of bringing the Botswana and Indian cultures together. “It is often said that the measure of a culture is truly found in artistic expression. Artists, dancers and writers have long been standard bearers for national cultures. The art of a culture can make you proud to be a part of it,” he said, adding “I’m passionate about speaking to the audience today about music and dance because it is an opportunity to bring our people closer.”
The first performer of the night was the dazzling Nayana Iyer, a 20 year old Indian Classical Dancer. Her complete solo performance included a variety of dance pieces that mainly dealt with the dancer’s love and invocation with the Hindu God, ‘Shiva’. She took the stage on three separate occasions throughout the night, and her pieces were as spiritual as they were elegant. The importance of the integration between Botswana and Indian cultures was symbolized through her dance attire, which included the colors blue, white and gold, referencing the colors of the Botswana and Indian flags. Speaking to Arts and Society Nayana said the dance footwork of Setswana Traditional Dance and Indian Classical dance was surprisingly alike. “The most exciting part about the attempt to integrate these two cultures was discovering how similar they were already are.” For her, dance holds an extreme significance. “I’ve been training in dance since I was four. After performing on many different occasions, I realized that I could use the medium to make a difference, and so I created the Dance for Change Trust to organize shows to raise money for charity.”
The next performers of the night were dancers from the Mogwana Traditional Dance group, who displayed exciting dance pieces such as “Bangwaketse”, “Gwagwasaba” and “Ngiyedwa”. The pieces were joyous and captivating. This was then followed by the R&B singer Tebogo Matsebi (or known by his stage name as ‘Maté’), who gave a lively performance of soulful original songs that brought the audience to their feet. The night concluded with closing remarks from the head of the Mogwana Traditional Dance Group, and an awards ceremony where it was revealed that the Dance for Change Trust had raised P100 000 for their two causes (The Happy Hearts Project, and the revival of the Botswana Music Camp). The production was a delightful showcase of how art can be used to unify and make a charitable impact.