Kundai Marunya Arts Correspondent
An expanded 11th Jibilika Festival is underway at different venues around the city including Batanai Gardens and the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC).
Running under the theme “Renewal” the festival which now includes skateboarding, graffiti, cheerleading, fashion and music will run until Saturday.
Jibilika director Plot Mhako said the festival has moved from only celebrating dance to incorporate other forms of youth talent and innovation.
“The festival has a new format now. It’s no longer just a dance festival. We took a three year plan to transform the festival, first from a one day event to two, then now to three and that also meant changes to the programming to accommodate more youth culture elements.
“We want to develop and empower a complete young artist by offering various skills, exposure and opportunities,” he said.
Mhako said the new format reinvigorates Jibilika. “Our theme is Renewal and Wow which we are calling Renewow! The new format bring new energy, new imagination, new elements and a wow factor.
“It challenges young people to dream and paint a new beautiful Zimbabwe,” he said.
As the festival brings about inclusion in dance, Jibilika has engaged a renowned German choreographer, who will conduct a workshop with female dancers.
“The dance workshop on day one will be hosted by Stephanie Körner from Germany, a young and extremely talented dancer whose expertise is in styles such as ballet, hip hop and contemporary.
“She will be choreographing an all-girls Jibilika dance group which will be performing at the festival opening Dance Theatre program featuring three other non-professional companies,” said Mhako.
In music, Jibilika gave performance space to upcoming talents. They earlier on made a call for emerging artists to participate and received 88 submissions.
Only ten artists were selected to be part of the festival among them Masa, Alchemy, Liberty Mathole, Divine Chitubura, and D-Blok.
“Our new elements include a musical concert which seeks to create a space for up-coming talented musicians in Zimbabwe to perform to a larger audience.
“We are excited to host the Earground music concert dedicated to emerging voices that are talented but normally don’t get performance space,” said Mhako.
One of the main highlights of the festival is the Rivalskool Battle which will see dancers competing for a spot at an international competition in France.
“Rivalskool, since last year has become a highlight of the festival due to the prize of sending the winner to Paris, all expenses paid.
“Last year the competition saw Blessing Fire (the festival’s artistic director) accompanying Panashe Gabi to Paris to represent the country,” said Mhako.
Running without sponsorship, Jibilika has forged partnerships with different organisations including B2C Co–working, Afrikera Arts Trust, Denor, Mhodzi, the Zimbabwe German Society, Alliance Francaise and RivalSkool.
“This year will definitely be bigger and more exciting than previous years. We did not manage to get funding but we forged working partnerships with institutions, artists and the communities to make this 11th Jibilika a success,” said Mhako.