US dancer for Jibilika finals


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By Kundai Marunya

Revered United States jit dancer Haleem ‘Stringz’Rasul is currently in the country for a performance at the Jibilika Dance Festival set for Bulawayo this weekend.

The dancer who has performed at various world stages will hit the stage with six local dancers he has been rehearsing with since Monday. His act will save as a refresher and a learning curve for local dancers who will battle it out for the $1000 price money.

In an interview with Spiked Lifestyle on the sidelines of the rehearsal at St Peters Kubatana in Highfields, Stringz said, “I’m working with dancers who had been pre-auditioned by Jibilika, among them a girl who dances cramp, two B-Boys, another one who dances clarks and another who specializes in traditional Zimbabwean jit and ballad.”

Stringz who is well versed in jit with over 15 years’ experience in the genre while also running and choreographing for a dance crew back home was challenged by the idea of choreographing and collaborating with other dance styles. “At first I was a little worried about the challenges we would face trying to merge different dance styles but it’s all coming out well, come the show, we will be ready,” he said.

Meanwhile, Stringz will also collaborate with Francis Dhlakama a.k.a Franco Slomo is an initiative they started online. “After Jibilika I will work on the collaboration with Slomo, building up on the work we have started online,” he said. The collaboration was made possible through the Zimbabwe Culture Centre in Detriot’s match grant fro the Knight Foundation.

“I am also looking forward to more shows if opportunity permits. I would also love to screen my documentary on tracing the roots of jit dance if I get opportunities to do so.” Stringz is in Harare until September 10.