By Dipo Olowookere
One of the financial institutions in Nigeria, Heritage Bank Plc, recently partnered with organizers of the International Festival of Contemporary Dance (IFCOD) to host the second edition of One Language, a musical production of intrigue, dance and drama.
The lender explained that the partnership was part of its commitment to the growth and socio-economic development of Nigeria’s creative industry.
The essence of the musical production is to unite humanity across the world and it was staged at the Balmoral Convention Centre, Federal Palace Hotel in Lagos over the weekend following its successful debut in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital in 2016.
Heritage Bank is supporting the creative industry because of its significant contribution to the Gross Domestic Product of the country. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said recently that the industry contributed more than $16 billion to the newly rebased GDP of the country in 2016.
Mr Chibuike Agu, Head of Content and Digital, Heritage Bank said the bank partnered with the organisers of IFCOD because dance and drama connect with the heritage of the Nigerian people, remarking that dance is one of the diverse ways of reflecting the culture of a people and depicts culture in its entirety.
In her address of welcome, Mrs Elo Inyeinengi-Etomi, the Convener of IFOCD, said “IFCOD is you and I, it is our shared pain and joy. It is our struggle to be heard and seen. It is the realization of our dreams. It is the realization of kindred spirit. It is us speaking one language.”
She said IFOCD as a platform meant different things to different people, adding that “it is a means to empower youths, a medium to share our story, a haven for talent, a place for rehabilitation and social integration, a connection hub, an interdisciplinary melting pot and pure gift of life.”
Mrs Etomi said IFCOD came into being because of her aspiration for people to appreciate the performing arts not only as a form of entertainment but also as a tool of socio-economic development.
In a goodwill message, Mr George Etomi, said IFCOD has continued to raise the level of cultural awareness through dance and drama by presenting ‘One Language’ and ‘Dance of the Rivers’ in Lagos at a time when the ‘centre of excellence’ was celebrating its 50 years of existence.
He also noted at a time when the political space was heated up with various interpretations of ‘restructuring’ it was somewhat fortuitous that ‘One Language’ is a dance drama that sends a powerful message about people common origins and destiny as humans.
Mr Etomi said, in the One Language musical production, “if we searched deep, we are one people united by one language while ‘Dance of the Rivers’ tells the story of the origins of the modern Ijaw people who travelled along the River Niger from the Futa Jallon Mountain to their present abode in Rivers State.”
Also speaking, Mr Segun Adefila, director of the One Language Dance drama, said One Language is about the different people in the world speaking one language in triumph and tribulation, joy and sorrow, hunger, anger and laughter which have no ethno-sectarian leanings.
They all share the same basic human traits and define humanity even in the face the pervading cruelties that stare them in the face.
The director said, “One Language explores among other things, the human themes of love, loss, misery, and ultimate human victory in unity,” adding that dance, music, spoken words and multimedia projections are finely juxtaposed to give the viewer and listeners, a total theatre experience that will linger on in their minds.
The choreographer of the project, Mr Victor Erebifa PHULU, popularly called ‘Sir Vic,’ is a veteran dancer, dance teacher and a dance judge of high repute with more than 25 years’ experience in African and Nigerian dances.
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