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Dance from dusk to dawn as Theatre Centrik’s virtual festival ends

It was an awesome moment and amazing experience at the Theatre Centrik main rehearsal hall, as the maiden edition of ‘Green African Arts Festival’, tagged GAAF 2020, took centre stage recently. Organised and presented by one of the leading Lagos-based theatre companies, Theatre Centrik, the featured a one-day poetic drama dance performance of ‘Dance from Dusk to dawn’, an ambitious but inspiring and engaging theatrical piece. It was the very first virtual art festival of its kind in Africa.

The show came after over three months of ‘no social gathering’, with schools shutdown, creative venues shutdown, and religious centres shutdown, Despite the heavy downpour in Lagos and other parts of the country on that day the show was a huge success with the presentation of ‘Dance From Dusk To Dawn’, is a ‘trans-cultural dramatic poetry performance spiced up with dance, drum and music of various cultures. The performance kicked off when suddenly, the light in the hall was switched off at about 12.15 pm, 15 minutes behind schedule.

The actors, 10 in all – four male and six female – danced side by side. The opening was performed by a well figured man who gracefully mounted the stage in his well crafted attire. He smiled, danced, sang and literally set the stage ablaze as he rendered his lines in such engaging manner. He was later joined by another set of “fluid, sensuous dancers”. The male and female dancers emerged in traditional attire and started dancing and gesticulating with legs, heads and arms (as if possessed by a spirit), making several simultaneous sounds without talking.

Suddenly, another female dancer/ actor emerged in a contemporary Africa attire. The high point of the show was the special performance which saw the male dancers performing some dance step in afro hip hop with so much energy. The display, no doubt, held the audience spellbound until the ‘Atilogwu dancers’ joined the stage for another rows of movement. After the atilogwu dance, all dancers/actors later danced together. The performance, written and directed by Oluwabiyi Anthony Boyede, explores Nigeria’s rich dance and cultural heritage. Oluwabiyi Boyede, the founder and artistic director of Theatre Centrik, said: “It was a colorful outing that thrilled all virtual viewers with a showcase of Nigeria’s cultural root via Facebook and YouTube.

The theme of the performance was Theatre as Alternative Media: Drama, Communication and Society. “Many would have thought it’s impossible but we made it happen. With about 95 percent of virtual rehearsals, challenging as it, we made it happen.” According to him, the central theme of the event was to showcase Nigerian dance and dance language.

He said: “Unfortunately and also fortunately for us, it rained heavily from morning till evening, most part of the country, Lagos precisely was flooded. Now let’s say the event was a physical event with people trooping in as audience, how well will it turn out with the weather as a disadvantage? How many guests would actually step out in the rain and brave the cold weather to attend the event?

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