Dance group Vuvuzela speaks about musical roots, hometowns, and recent performance

Many Colby groups bring together a community of members celebrating the same thing. For Vuvuzela,  celebrating home and cultural traditions is an essential factor that bonds the members, as they collaborate to create beautiful performances to share with the Colby community.

For Sandra Ntare ’18, co-president of Colby’s dance group Vuvuzela, membership in the dance troop is an important part of her Colby experience that connects her to home.

“I am from Rwanda, and at home, music and dance go together almost all the time,” she said.

“If it’s a family gathering or just a celebration, when music is played, everyone dances. I missed the dances back home and being a part of the musical experience,” she said.

Vuvuzela, the dance group of about 12 Colby students that meets twice per week for two hours, fulfills this musical gap. The group dances to both contemporary and classic African music and performs three to four times per year. Most of their choreography is are derived from sources on the internet and modified by a member of the group who, on their own time, learns the choreography and then directs  the dance during practice.

According to Vuvuzela’s YouTube page where they post videos of choreography from performances,“[They’re] an inclusive group of college students that LOVE to dance and use it as a stress reliever. [They] bring African dance to Colby College in Waterville, Maine.”

The group’s biggest performance, called the Annual Show, occurred last Saturday, March 4, in Page Commons. The production is the culmination of the concerted efforts of the dancers and this year showcased eight different pieces.

In addition to dancing, members are responsible for costume design, advertisement, and coordination with lighting. Consequently, the production of the show can
be challenging.

“We make decisions pretty collectively as a group,” Ntare said.

Grace Uwase, a junior in the group, said, “we’re also really loud people, and so sometimes when we’re trying to make decisions we raise our voices. It can be tough.”

The time constraints of being a full-time student and a contributing member of the group pose additional difficulties, as the goal of putting forward a spectacular piece to the audience requires a big time commitment. However, Moetski Mokobocho ’19 summed up the process of developing the show, bysaying, “there’s disagreements, there’s conflicts, but in the end, it really comes together. It’s just beautiful.”

Mokobocho echoes Ntare’s reasoning for joining the club. “At home, we would compete for the spotlight at kids’ birthday parties. Dance and music are big things at home for me. It would be hard to go without singing or dancing here,” she said.

All members of the club have different musical backgrounds. Some danced formally before coming to Colby, some at celebrations, while others had never danced before. Regardless of their background, the collaboration between dancers of all different levels and different experiences serves the group well. “We have different dances, from country to country,” Ntare explains. “When we bring that together here, it’s even better,” she said.

For some members, the best part of being in Vuvuzela is the strong sense of community and friendship. For others, it’s being able to go to practice and have some fun after a long week. And for many, it’s about sharing their culture. “It’s cool and important to share the music I listen to Monday through Friday with people who have never heard it,” Uwase ’18 said. “It’s inviting people into my natural environment.”

All members of the club emphasize that the club is very open, and that no prior experience is required to join. If any Colby students are interested in joining, contact Sandra Ntare at suntare@colby.edu.