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Documentary traces roots of unity through cultural dance

Nov 15th, 2013 | By | Category: Latest News, News

IPtopmcrTHE energy and ritual of African dance comes to Wellington on Saturday in the inaugural DANCE Wellington festival.

‘Peace and Love in Africa’ is a feature documentary that tracks a kiwi dance teacher’s journey through Africa, and it premieres at the New Zealand Film Archive.

Film director and dance choreographer Bronwyn Judge follows Oamaru local Ra McRostie in her travels from Senegal to Zimbabwe learning from the indigenous people she meets.

IPJudgeJudge (right) first started African dance classes while living in New York and said she was “blown away by the sheer energy of the dance and mystified by the ritual that surrounded it”.

“I discovered, in Africa, music and dance are synonymous – it is rhythm that unites them.

“My intention with the film, was to suggest that here in New Zealand, we are perhaps not ambitious enough with what we expect dance and music to achieve,” Judge said.

“They sing and dance, and their belief is peace and love.”

Judge who has made several films before is one of McRostie’s dance students in Oamaru, and they fundraised for the trip together.

The two left at the start of January and spent more than a month filming before returning home in February 2011.

They only ran into difficulties when applying for travel visas because Senegal was not being a well-travelled area.

McRostie said the film is not a “hippy-fest” despite the title.

“The main message I wanted to get across is that everyone with all their different religions once condensed down ultimately reaches peace and love,” she said.

McRostie discovered African dancing 10 years ago while living in Western Australia where there was a large community of Africans with a strong dance and music scene.

She found it inspiring and had been doing it ever since.

‘Peace and Love in Africa’ premiers Saturday, November 16 at the New Zealand Film Archive as part of the inaugural DANCE Wellington festival, presented by The Wellington Dance Festival Trust.

Image(s): The New Zealand Film Archive

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