Botswana’s most prolific dance troupe #IloveBotswana ensemble will perform their new production ‘Pula’ on a Broadway stage in Times Square, New York, USA this coming month, August 22nd and 23rd.
The production aptly tagged #BotswanaonBroadway is a national project whereby the “I Love Botswana” ensemble looks set to conquer Broadway – endearing themselves yet again to US audiences with slated performances at the world renowned Battery Dance Festival, as well as a special performance in Washington DC.
Proudly supported by Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) and spearheaded by the troupe’s patron, Thea Khama, the vision of the project is to give the ensemble significant international exposure and demonstrate that dance in Botswana can compete with the best of the best.
Broadway is a multi-billion Dollar network of the largest theatres in the world, which connects productions to audiences, agents and promotes who partner or buy shows from $20 to $200 million+ based on the longevity of the contract to run the performances.
“Having Botswana on Broadway will further the diversification awareness of the country’s tourism product. Pula, or rain, is highly cherished in Botswana, a semi-arid country in Africa. This fictional play – anchored on the practical and mystical relationship that Batswana have with rain- traces how rain brings humans, plants and animals under one Botswana sky.”
Because of this close relationship with rain, Batswana have always had endless names for rain depending on whether the rain is creating or destroying, whether it is before or after the planting of crops.
And so, when drought hits one tiny village in Botswana, the chief assembles his villagers to find a solution. One young woman, Mmapula, is identified as the Rainmaker who must set forth in adventurous search of a specific type of life-changing rain for her people.
Therefore, his spell-binding musical from Botswana chronicles a rainmaker’s quest to regain her powers.
Her physical and spiritual rite of passage takes her to the inland delta and savannas of their homeland whereupon she consults tribespeople, and animal and plant communities for wisdom.
In this community, where life is lived in communion with all living beings, the Rainmaker – through traditional song and dance – unites all creation toward the goal of bringing rain to her desert land. The result is an exhilarating celebration of all life, with powerful heart-warming twist.
This is not the first time the group will be conquering New York, USA. Just last year, 2017 the ensemble led, choreographed and artistically directed by Andrew Letso Kola and being Botswana’s first Afro-Fusion and Contemporary dance company was invited to participate at the Battery Dance Festival.
The Botswana group was performing for the first time at the 36th annual Battery Dance Festival in Manhattan, New York, USA where they had the copious dance aficionados eating out of their dancing and musical palm, earning themselves a well-deserved standing ovation to the merriment of everyone who had graced the evening’s festivities.
The esteemed festival attracts an audience of 10, 000 and hosts more than 10 countries across the world this year. Botswana was the only African country invited as well as the first African country to be honoured with a day that was covered by the New York Times.
Established by Battery Dance in 1982 as the Downtown Dance Festival, today the Battery Dance Festival (BDF) is New York City’s longest-running free public dance festival. Audiences are traditionally drawn from the large downtown working population and residents, families, tourists, senior citizens and dance fans from the greater NYC metropolitan area. Each year, the Festival draws a combined audience of over 12,000 people.
The Battery Dance Festival provides a unique opportunity for outstanding dancers and choreographers to present original works of high artistic merit in a free public forum. BDF revels in the panoply of dance that our city offers, with strong emphasis on the inclusion of diverse dance styles and an international roster of performers.
American choreographers such as Michelle Dorrance, Paul Taylor, Mary Anthony, Elizabeth Streb and Darrell Moultrie have all presented their works alongside pre-eminent companies from Asia, Europe, South America, Africa and the Caribbean.