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10 minutes with Bawren Tavaziva

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Tell us a bit about your style and how the various genres that influence it come together.

So, my style is a synthesis of African dance, Contemporary dance, Ballet, Capoeira and Breakdance. I trained in these styles and over the years they have just come together to create my own personal vocabulary that is now the style of Tavaziva.

Can you tell us what a person attending your workshop with us might expect of the session?

The workshop will be very physical… you are going to sweat! But you will also leave the session with a buzz and inspiration.

Can you talk about your life in dance and how it can to be that you chose this path?

In Zimbabwe dance and music are at the heart of the culture. I was lucky to be able to persue a career in both dance and music, but really I was born into this creative and vibrant environment.

For someone new to African or African influenced work, what tips can you offer to help them best embrace the feeling and aesthetic?

Listen to your inner feeling, that deep belly passion. Do not be afraid, just go for it!

You tour work each year – can you tell us a) more about your artistic ethos and the mark or impression you set out to make on the world….and b) perhaps also about the kind of experiences you want to make for your audiences or ideas you want to leave them with?

When you dance, you dance for a reason, for a purpose. I dance and choreograph to give awareness to unspoken topics. I explore things that you are not allowed to say in Zimbabwe. For example, commenting on the government or HIV aids. Dance and choreography grant me that voice. I want to make people think, I want to inspire, but I also want to lift up spirits.

What qualities do you look for in a dancer for your choreographic work?

I look for that inner drive that you cannot teach. I look for dancers who are very versatile so that they are able to understand my synthesised vocabulary.

You have an established programme for young people and artists in training, tell us a bit more about why this carries so much importance for you?

People gave me opportunities when I was young. It is my turn now to give back and push dance forwards. It is also a blessing to teach.

What advice would you give a young dancer making their way in the world today?

Dance is not easy, but it is also immense fun. Enjoy it but always work hard. Remember not to be late... haha!

We here at Greenwich Dance are setting out to create a dance community of people, of all ages, backgrounds and experiences, who value the place of creativity and dance within their lives regardless of whether its something they use to pay the mortgage! Do you have a response to that as an approach and is this a value you also share with us?

I completely agree. I encourage everyone to tap into their love for dance and use that as their fuel, their stimulus. It is great that people like you (Greenwich Dance) and me are able to provide people with opportunities like this. We are able to emphasise to people that they should know the reason why they dance and to own whatever it is.

Book A Day with Bawren Tavaziva here