Photo: Gerald Ssemaganda (left) and Edward Sembatya (right).
Through the collaboration between Makerere University and the Norwegian University College of Dance, Gerald Ssemaganda and Edward Sembatya earned a bachelor’s degree in Dance from The Norwegian University College of Dance.
Gerald and Edward are enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge and in 2016 after their Bachelor’s degree training in Norway, they returned to Uganda and taught dance at the Department of Performing Arts and Film (PAF) at Makerere University in Kampala. Edward has taught Jazz, Ugandan traditional dances, and ballet for beginners and Gerald has taught modern-and contemporary dance, Ugandan traditional dances, and African Contemporary Dance.
Currently, they are studying towards an International Master in Dance Knowledge, Practice, and Heritage, a Choreomundus Master Programme, which is offered by a consortium of four universities: NTNU (Norway), University of Szeged (Hungary), Roehampton University (United Kingdom) and University of Clermont Ferrand (France), former University Blasie Pascal. Their plan is to return to Makerere University to continue their dance teaching and research after they have completed their Masters degree.
How is the Master programme at NTNU so far?
– The experience from our Master’s degree training is so far exceptional in the sense that we are exposed to the understanding of both theoretical and pragmatic notions and discourses that embed dance paradigm, and other disciplines that relates to dance, they state. They continue to say that:
– The course does not only prepare us to execute a given material or skills taught to us, but also, it provides us with knowledge to generate new material that is relevant for specific communities or groups of people. Since the Program is handled by different professors with different approaches to dance, and most especially from different disciplines like: anthropology, philosophy and ethno-choreology, it prepares us to work with different students from different disciplines, and with different goals. This puts us into a position where we can be of help with in an institution with interrelating courses.
What do you think about the new Center of Performing Arts project?
“We are very excited about the new Center for Performing Arts, and we are expecting a lot from it. We expect it to contribute towards the progress of dance at PAF, Uganda and beyond.”
How does the future look?
– We are very positive and optimistic about the future. We want to contribute to the development of the dance in Uganda and neighbouring countries, through sharing our knowledge, skills and experience. To this aim, we decided to start up a dance company, Dance Theatre Uganda, that aims at giving formal practice for dancers at different levels and performance skills.