Dance students had the opportunity to perform alongside professional dancers on 5th October at Djanogly Theatre, Lakeside Arts, in a show put together by London-based, African contemporary dance company Tavaziva, in partnership with Dance4.
The group of 17, degree-level students worked with freelance choreographer and dancer Anna Watkins for the curtain raiser of Izindava, presented as part of Black History Month. Anna has worked with Tavaziva for 10 years as a company dancer, rehearsal assistant and project leader, as well as other roles within the company.
Anna comments: "It was a pleasure working with the students at Nottingham College. I was very impressed with their positive attitude when adapting to a very different way of working, transitioning from student to professional in just a few days! They showed enthusiasm and worked very well as a group during the creative process. I was very proud of all the students for their performance; it was a great way to introduce Tavaziva's show."
Izindava follows Tavaziva's highly successful production of Africarmen, and translates as 'news' in the Zimbabwean language Ndebele. Artistic Director Bawren Tavaziva uses his own experiences of growing up in Zimbabwe to influence his work. A very personal piece about traumatic religious childhood fears, Izindava also focusses on the redemptive power of dance, music and Rastafarianism. Bawren Tavaziva composes and creates the music for his productions as well as choreographing in his signature style synthesising ballet, contemporary and African dance.
Fern Pagowski, 21, is studying Theatre Arts BA (Hons) Top-Up at Nottingham College. She said: "It was very exciting working with professional dancers and a great insight into how much work goes into a performance like that. The African-style dance, which Tavaziva is renowned for, was challenging but it was so much fun to perform, and great to learn something so different.
"We had lots of support from our lecturer and from Anna and I think our hard work payed off because the final performance went really well. It's only the beginning of the course and we've already been given this amazing opportunity to work with industry, so I'm really looking forward to what's to come."
Theatre and Dance Lecturer, Nicola Burt, adds: "This is the second time we've had the privilege of working with Tavaziva and it's been a fantastic experience for our students. Not only has it been a great way to build their confidence and enhance their physical, technical and creative skills, but it's also been a wonderful way for students from different courses to bond."
Tavaziva's performed in London this week at Sadler's Wells, Lilian Baylis Studio, with other dates across the UK in autumn 2017 and spring 2018. For more details visit www.tavazivadance.com
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Dance image (far right) by Kwame Lestrade