Zulu dancers to perform at powwowThe featured cultural arts dance group at this year’s 40th annual United Tribes International Powwow is “Soweto Street Beat,” representing the Zulu Kingdom of South Africa. Daily performances are scheduled at 9:30 p.m. Sept. 11-13 in the powwow arena in Bismarck.
The featured cultural arts dance group at this year’s 40th annual United Tribes International Powwow is “Soweto Street Beat,” representing the Zulu Kingdom of South Africa. Daily performances are scheduled at 9:30 p.m. Sept. 11-13 in the powwow arena in Bismarck.
Soweto Street Beat Dance Theater Inc. is the only professional South African dance troupe in the United States. The non-profit organization began in 1989 in Soweto Township, Jo-hannesburg, South Africa, and relocated to Atlanta in 1992.
Its mission is to teach audiences of all ages and cultural backgrounds about the cultural arts and history of South Africa.
Executive Director Peter Ngcobo and Artistic Director Isabelle Doll Ngcobo have 50 years combined experience in African dance performance and instruction.
SSB began as an organization that targeted at-risk youth who are surrounded by crime and poverty in Soweto. The young men were taught to become professional dancers and cultural ambassadors. They learned methods of channeling their energies that were building up throughout years of apartheid into positive, creative activities.
Today, SSB continues this teaching to South African youth, bringing them to America to study dance and receive academic experience not readily available in South Africa.
SSB prepares an annual performance during Black History Month, in addition to special public shows and hundreds of school appearances throughout the year. The performances focus on the history of the Zulu Nation, and their unique dance and music styles that come from South African ethnic groups: Zulu, Swazi, Venda, Shan-gaan, Bushmen, Sotho and Xhosa.
After apartheid, SSB became the first professional South African dance company to perform at venues and festivals in South Africa, Europe and America.
The United Tribes International Powwow is Sept. 10-13 in the Lone Star Arena dance arbor at United Tribes Technical College, 3315 University Drive, Bismarck.
Admission is $12 daily or $20 for the weekend.