‘Music and dance’ connect Ireland and Zimbabwe

By rte.ie

A Zimbabwean man living in Northern Ireland is spending lockdown teaching online Irish dance classes.

Cuthbert Tura Arutura, who lives in Ballygowan in Co Down, said there are similarities between the dance of Zimbabwe and sean nós dancing.

He said: “People will find it very exciting that Ireland and southern Africa has this connection of music and rhythm and dance.

“Sean nós is the mother and father of all dances in Ireland.”

He added the energy and core values are the same and some moves are similar in Zimbabwe.

“What interested me in sean nós dancing was the rawness, the energy and naturalness of the dance and how it really had this primitive essence and energy and power.”

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Arutura was teaching mostly face-to-face in halls and dance studios, and occasionally using Skype.

The arts sector has been devastated by the pandemic, and Northern Ireland has been in a strict lockdown since Christmas.

Mr Arutura said: “I am having to find new and interesting ways to connect with people.

“In essence it is about connecting with people and giving them the inspiration and knowledge to experience the dance.”

He said dance is the one activity that uses every part of the brain and body, and it is important to stay healthy and keep learning a skill during lockdown.

“It is so good for mental health, for physical health, it is good for your heart, it is good for your lungs, it is good for everything,” he said.

“Once lockdown is removed you can show people the new skill that you have learned.

“Because of its transcendent nature, people really want to learn sean nós.” 

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