National Ballet - Urukerereza
History and background of the National Ballet of
Rwanda had existed as monarchy for over four centuries and the various elements of the performance reflect activities at and around the Royal Court. They are roughly divided into four types:
INTORE, the dancer wherein young men developed the qualities of the warrior (Intore), displaying agility, strength and composure, and clad in regalia reminiscent of the lion;
UMUSHAGIRIRO/Umushayayo, the dance of women, which cerebrated the movement of various animals that grace the country, from elephants and gazelles to the traditionally most revered, the cow;
UKURAMBAGIZA, a dance involving males and females at what can best be described as courtship; impressive by definition, the dancers call this “the dance of fiancés”.
The Royal Drummers, thirteen in number, is the traditional symbol of royal power; these drums where used to both announce the presence of the King and communicate with his subjects and allies.
This plan has been thought about after realizing that among our fellow artists there are brilliant talents as far as the culture is concern. And this is could not interfere their activities as artists. It is really a shame to consider cultural affairs as things left to uneducated people while it should be our responsibilities as intellectuals in the culture of this country (Rwanda).
The birth of URUKEREREZA
Rwanda like any other country has a culture and our culture is among the best thing we have in this country, should be taken into account and promoted from generations to generations. This is among the important elements which pushed Government to promote culture. This is was realised through setting up URUKEREREZA Ballet as the National cultural troupe.
URUKEREREZA is a ballet that gathers artists from different districts and regions of Rwanda for the purpose of promoting, conserving and preserving the Rwandan culture through songs, dances, drama, etc.
URUKEREREZA was created in 1974 by the constitution of the Republic of Rwanda, Presidential order N° 301/11 of 24th March 1974 of Gazette of the Republic of Rwanda, 1974. p. 78 acceding the national ballet of Rwanda.
This was so after realizing that talented artists particularly children from districts and regions could play a notable role in promoting the national culture. Under Urukerereza, Rwandan artists are well positioned to represent the country in different events all over the word.
The National Ballet of Rwanda has one of the highest level of performance in traditional dances, songs and drums.
The National Ballet of Rwanda has since 24th March 1974 represented the national folklore of Rwanda in all forms and varieties. This variety is primarily regional and not, it must be emphasized, ethnic in origin. The colonial hypotheses of there being three distinct ethnic groups in Rwanda is best dismissed by the indisputable fact that Rwandans speak one common language, Kinyarwanda ,and share common customs and a common ancestry.
The National Ballet of Rwanda Urukerereza is considered the primary exponent of this common heritage as reflected in traditional song and dance.
Between 1974 and 1994, the Urukerereza traveled the globe and achieved considerable international acclaim, particularly in Europe and north America. In the course of the horrific events that befell Rwanda in 1994, however, most of the best –known dancers, singers and drummers perished. In order to reconstruct this proud heritage, the Government subsequently established the present troupe as IMPARAGE (Zebras).
Consisting of surviving members of the ensemble as well as members of troupes from the Diaspora. Imparage spectacularly obtained distinctions at international festivals in their first international appearances.
1995: PALMA Mallorca (Spain),
1996: MAATAF (Israel)
1997: Brazzaville (Congo) and again in MATAAT (Israel)
1998: Tournament in SOUTH AFRICA
On the effort of the reconstruction the country in 1998 the Government subsequently established the present selection dancers and drummers again in the solidarity camp of 300 artists in Nyanza/Nyabisindu/South province 24th /8-8th /1998 to rename again the National Ballet of Rwanda as provided for under the new constitution of the Republic of Rwanda.
Members of national cultural troupe are Rwandan artists from different districts and provinces.
Under the name Urukerereza, the troupe was reconstructed and has up to now made several performances countrywide and internationally especially during major national events.
TOURS MADE BY THE NATIONAL BALLET “URUKEREREZA”
1999: Chine &Inde
2000: Tournament in European
2002: Tournament again in European
2003: Rhineland Palatinat
2004: Allemande and French
2005: Japan and Mallorica
2006: Italy and Holland
For details visit the Ministry of Sports and Culture webite