On 29th of August 2019 at Osu, the 5th edition of the ‘Ghana Dance Festival’ was launched under the theme, “Dance is a decent profession, support it”. The event signified the commencement of a series of dance related activities to celebrate and create public awareness on the importance of dance in Ghana. The President of the ‘Ghana Dance Festival’ Robert Klah, said that dance needs to be supported as an institution in order to help derived the full benefits of the art. He said dance even has the potential of curbing unemployment among the youth in Ghana.
Speaking at the launch of ‘Ghana Dance Festival 2019’, the President of the ‘Ghana Dance Festival’ Robert Klah emphasized the importance of dance and urged the audience to help echo the message about the economic benefits of the art. “Dance is helping a lot of people out there and doing a lot of wonderful things but if we don’t have this major call in this country to achieve that, then we are doing ourselves a big disfavor. If we take another look at dance, I am sure the issue of unemployment will be curbed, and then people will be able to feed off dance. So let us drum the message so hard so that the appropriate authorities will be able to help us raise the image of dance in Ghana because, indeed, the time is up”, he explained.
Robert Klah also complained about the stagnation of the growth of dance in Ghana and the unhealthy perception some people attach to the profession. “It has been tough, especially when everyone enjoys dance but it is still not up to the level that you expect it to be. Even when we see dance, we are either supporting a musician or sometimes, the interpretation of dance itself is not what it is because majority of the things we see on dance on television is indecent or offensive. But, we thought we should celebrate dance as one of the disciplines of the creative arts and also as a decent profession.”
A representative from the ‘Ghana Tourism Development Company’, Malcom Frazier Appeadu, said that his institution was ready to assist in the successful organization of the festival. “We are fully supporting the ‘Ghana Dance Festival’ this year. We at the ‘Ghana Tourism Development Company’ think dance should be an exportable commodity. In fact, we should get to the point were big international artistes would come to Ghana for dancers for their projects and that is the level we want to see dance at”, he said. There were other solidarity messages from the ‘Creative Arts Council of Ghana’ and United Nations Youth (Ghana).
According to the President of the ‘Ghana Dance Festival’ Robert Klah, the ‘Ghana Dance Festival 2019’ will comprise workshops, seminars, performances with a minimum of 13 countries participating. It will begin on the 3rd of September 2019 with each week representing a different genre of dance namely ‘Street dance’ week with visitors from the United States of America, ‘Heritage week’ which will focus on Highlife and Ghanaian traditional dance, ‘Praise dance’ week with students from the University of Ghana, and so on.
Robert Klah also mentioned that the very first edition of the ‘Ghana Dance Industry Awards’ will be held on the 23rd of September 2019 as part of the celebrations. He added that ‘Dance Sports’; which is also a unique area in dance, will also be represented in the celebrations as some selected Ghanaian dancers will compete with other dancers in South Africa at the ‘Africa Dance Championships’ in September this year. The ‘Ghana Dance Festival 2019’ is supported by the ‘Dancers and DanceSport Association of Ghana’.
By Jerry Wonder