IloveBotswana heads to Broadway

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  • Music ensemble slated to perform at ‘The Great White Way’
  • It is every artist’s dream to perform on Broadway

GOSEGO MOTSUMI

After their breathtaking performance which raised the country’s flag high at the Battery Dance Festival last year in New York, the ILoveBotswana music ensemble is now headed for a bigger stage on Broadway in Times Square, New York from 22nd to 23rd August 2018. Renowned choreographer Andrew Letso Kola will direct the production titled “Pula” which is a national project under the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism.
“The word Pula or rain is highly cherished in Botswana. The production chronicles the practical and mystical relationship that Batswana have with rain. It traces how rain brings humans, plants and animals under one Botswana sky through traditional song and dance that unites all creation to bring rain to the desert,” Kola explained adding that their new production pays tribute to all of Botswana’s indigenous tribes.
In preparation for the show, Chief Operations Officer of the Battery Dance Festival, Emad Salem confirmed that there was palpable excitement building up in New York in anticipation of the production. “I am already receiving a lot of messages asking when the ensemble is arriving and whether tickets can be reserved. We are expecting an audience of over 3000 people to come to the performances,” he said.
Salem further revealed that they have rolled out a robust advertising strategy to spread the word on the show and he has faith that “Pula” will transport American audiences back to Botswana’s beauty, mysticism and culture that it will create a life changing experience for the audience. “I know this for sure because last year when we hosted the ensemble at the Battery Dance Festival. We did an audience survey and 85 percent of them had little to no knowledge about Botswana prior to their performance. After the performance every single one had a positive outlook and perception of the country with a number of them saying they were looking forward to travelling to Botswana,” he said.
A lighting designer from Broadway has also been roped in and is currently in the country to create custom lighting and projections for the stage. He will be traveling to the northern part of the country to draw inspiration from Botswana’s world famous natural attractions to help design a theatrical production that accurately reflects the allure of Botswana.
“For the country’s economy it means a growing arts industry, the ensemble will grow in stature and that means more opportunities that will translate into more employment for artists and people in the creative industry,” Salem opined.
I love Botswana first represented Botswana at the International Tourism Bourse (ITB) 2017 in Germany. Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama confirmed that the show in Berlin was a great success and attracted close to 4500 people. “Our visitations to Botswana went up by 18%. We had asked for P50 million and we got returns of more than P350 million. That is the best investment,” he said.
Tshekedi concluded by saying that, “In this ministry everything we have is genuine and we don’t have synthetic options. The culture, art and talent is second to none. When we go to Broadway we are going to show them the best of Botswana. We will allow these young artists to go and demonstrate something that will blow people away and they will realise that Botswana has more than diamonds and wildlife to offer.”