Culture Department of Seychelles looking for dancing, singing skills to revive island dance troupe
The Culture Department in Seychelles is hosting a series of virtual dance auditions in the hopes of getting potential candidates to revive the island nation’s National Cultural Dance Troupe.
An official of the department told SNA that despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic it is forging ahead with its plans to revamp the troupe.
“The purpose of the audition is to seek dancers both male and female with skills in traditional dance and contemporary dance to form a cultural troupe under the Department. In view of the pandemic, we cannot hold face to face audition, therefore, we had to go with a plan B which is to get people to send in their audition video,” explained Cecile Kalebi, the Principal Secretary for Culture. Kalebi added that people interested to join the troupe should know the islands’ traditional dances as well as modern ones and added talents such as singing a playing a traditional instrument are a plus. According to Kalebi those who are selected will be given additional training and grooming “to mould these dancers into the best dancers to showcase and keep alive our traditional dances.” The setting of the national group is another step the country is taking in preparation for the development of the cultural tourism sector. Cultural tourism is something that Seychelles – 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean – is putting a lot of emphasis on as an addition and alternative to the crystal ocean and white beaches that tourists flock to the island nation for. In one of his first meetings with partners chaired as the new Tourism Minister in November last year, Sylvestre Radegonde said local communities should benefit more from tourism. “I would also like to see that all Seychellois benefit from tourism and for them to benefit, we have to get the tourists to go into the communities. So, we have to revamp or create new activities that will get the tourists, apart from staying at their hotels, on the beach or in the sea, to visit our communities and enjoy our way of life through our cultural activities,” said Radegonde. Last month key partners in Seychelles started to discuss the development of the sector in a first meeting hosted by the Minister for Finance, Economic Planning and Trade, Naadir Hassan. “The cultural tourism sector is one area where the government wants to focus on, because it trickles down directly in the community, providing a livelihood for our people, and tourists can spend more, which means foreign exchange will stay in the country,” said Hassan. Berno Cedras, owner of the L’echo Group Seychelles, told SNA that cultural tourism done well can only become something big for the islands. “Just imagine giving visitors a full package where they can enjoy our pristine environment, enjoy their hotels and at the same time they can enjoy our music and dances, get to mix with our communities. For instance, learn how to grill fish the traditional way, grill breadfruit on an open fire as well as learn how to dehusk a coconut,” explained Cedras. Cedras, whose company specialises in providing local entertainment to tourism establishments, added that there is no going wrong with giving visitors a real taste of all that the islands have to offer