The Haba na Haba dance festival, started in 2011 by contemporary dancers and choreographers Isack Abeneko and Shaaban Mugado, will take place this year at the Goethe Institut grounds in Dar es Salaam on July 11 and then move on to the Nafasi Artspace on July 12-13.
Initially, the event was meant for workshops for upcoming dancers but morphed to include performances, which soon gave birth to a dance festival, now in its third year.
This year's festival will be run by the Asedeva Company, to highlight the different genres of dance including contemporary dance, traditional ngoma dances as well as street dance as serious artistic expression.
This year's festival objective is to train local dancers by connecting them with professional dancers via workshops.
Professional dancers Musa Hlatshwayo from South Africa and Maura Morales from Germany will be coaching the cohort of dancers.
Hlatshwayo, a dancer and choreographer was the winner of last year's Standard Bank Young Artist Award in the dance category.
He studied at the Copenhagen Contemporary Dance School in Denmark on scholarship from the University of KwaZulu Natal.
Morales was born in Camaguey, Cuba and studied and apprenticed in classical and modern ballet training, choreography, acting, and folkloric dance at the National Art College in Camaguey, Cuba.
The director of the festival, Isack Abeneko, said of this year's festival: “We still have a long way to go in progressing dance as an art form compared with countries like South Africa, Ghana or Ivory Coast.
“Bearing in mind cultural expression is the stuff of creativity, of thought development and self awareness, we are inspired to pay it forward by bringing young dancers together to share their knowledge with others. We hope they grow and learn from other successful dancers and be inspired to keep edutaining our society through this art form.”
This year's festival is sponsored by the Swiss Embassy, the Goethe Institut and Nafasi Artspace and Pro Helvetia from South Africa, with support from Nuru Media, RUKA, Acto Light, Dance Garage and Baraza la Sanaa la Taifa (Basata, Arts Council Tanzania).
Last year's festival suffered a few setbacks when the invited international dancers did not perform after the organisers failed to pay performance fees for each of the international artists to the National Arts Council.
Abeneko has however assured festival goers that there are no such hitches his year.
“We got an informal apology from Basata for last year's last-minute ban on the international artists we had worked so hard to bring. We have worked well with the organisation this year and we are sure of their support.”
Entry to the festival is free.