HARARE – When I went to watch a showcase last week dubbed “The Magic of Broadway” staged at Harare’s Reps Theatre, I discovered that dance is more than exercise or entertainment — it can become a language.
Through the use of a “movement vocabulary” that is centred around physical expression instead of words, The Magic Of Broadway is a show about a little girl’s dreams of singing and dancing on Broadway and, with a little help from her fairy godmother, she learns this can be done through hard work and dedication.
The audience that packed Reps Theatre enjoyed every minute of the showcase and through breath-taking dances, the dancers, some as young as four years managed to communicate conscious and unconscious feelings through well-choreographed moves, which took audiences on a magical journey of song and dance through classic Broadway shows, including Fame, Chicago, Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera, The Lion King among others.
Produced by talented Zimbabwean dancer, dance teacher and choreographer Timikha Fisher under her Breakthrough Productions, the show seemed to touch the life of every dancer and reminded them that they have something unique to offer the world; if only they have the courage to dream and the determination to make their dreams come true.
And Fisher believes dance can boost a person’s mood, improve his or her body image, and provide an opportunity for fun that may lower overall stress and anxiety.
“Breakthrough Productions is a multi-cultural dance group I founded and comprises four singers, 18 female and four male dancers,” said the Nama-winner for Most Outstanding Female Dancer of 2015.
At 26, Fisher has achieved quite a lot. She is a qualified dance teacher and teaches at nursery schools in the morning and adults in the afternoon.
“I was the first Zimbabwean to be invited to the World Championships of Performing Arts hosted in Los Angeles, where I won a gold medal for tap, a silver medal for ballet and a bronze medal for jazz. There were more than 1 000 dancers participating in the competition.”
And she has big plans for her Breakthrough Productions. “I want to produce quality productions that can compete on the global showbiz market. My dream is to produce productions that can tour nationally, regionally and internationally.”
Her productions use all dance types and other art forms to provide entertainment activities and all its dancers are trained in classical ballet, tap, jazz, acrobatics, ballroom, Latin and hip-hop.
Born in a family of three, she is the only girl. “I am the only girl in our family and I started dancing at the age of four. At 12 years I was already showcasing.”
She attended Coventry School for junior and high school. “My parents have been very supportive of my dance career especially when I launched my dance company.”
Fisher said she was humbled when she won a Nama award.
“It is something I cherish because people at home recognised my talent, it was indeed an honour.”
She believes dance as elsewhere in the world is not big business. “But we are doing quite well, I believe art plays a big part in Zimbabwe’s communities. Dance lifts spirits and can be practised by people as young as four years and as old as 80 years.”
Fisher rehearses regularly, at least two-to-three hours a day.
“As for the young people who want to try dance, I say follow your dreams and no one should tell you what to do.”
And there is good news for Fisher and her production as her Reps Theatre showcase was filmed for DStv’s Zambezi Magic channel.
MultiChoice Zimbabwe public relations manager Liz Dziva said they decided to film the The Magic of Broadway at Reps Theatre which will result in screenings of the show on DStv, giving it an international audience and helping to showcase Zimbabwean dance talent.
“Once filmed, this will be presented to DStv’s Zambezi Magic channel and it is hoped this will get a good broadcast slot and high viewership from across Africa.”
“We are excited to be involved with this show, and we greatly admire the talent and work of Fisher, who is a superb example of how world-class our arts and entertainment performers are,” said Dziva.
“We encourage support for her show and we are delighted that it will be filmed for presentation on Zambezi Magic, which is a channel created to showcase Zimbabwean and other productions, including drama, comedy, music and dance, as well as other genres of entertainment.”