News: Research to explore role of traditional dance in 'New Rwanda'

Monday 8 December 2014 by Clare Evans

Dr Carine Plancke

New research on the role of traditional dance in creating a ‘new Rwanda’, as the country recovers from the impact of the 1994 genocide, will be carried out at the University of Roehampton in south west London.

Dr Carine Plancke will begin a year-long fellowship at the University this month. As part of this, she will undertake three months of ethnographic fieldwork in the East African country, focusing on one of its most prominent dance troupes, Inganzo Ngari, considered to be the best troupe in Kigali.

Dr Plancke says, “Rwanda’s recent history has been hugely damaging to the country and has raised the need to construct a new, national identity. The revitalisation of traditional dancing contributes to developing this ‘new Rwanda’, which is projected by the government as a unified, modern, resilient and proud nation. The aim of my research is to examine this process as well as the transformations it causes to the dance performances.”

Her study will analyse the troupe’s repertoire and the way elements from different regions, periods and sociocultural settings are brought together to present a unified, modern Rwanda.

The University of Roehampton has an internationally-renowned reputation in this area, and is the only university in the English speaking world to host a master’s qualification in Dance Anthropology.

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