Professional dancers from the Benin Republic have urged African countries to invest more in the industry to earn additional revenue and promote cultural integration and diplomacy.
The dancers told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Sunday that grooming the dance industry would also boost the countries’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The dancers were in Nigeria for the Trufesta International Dance Festival lasting for one week at the Society for Performing Arts (SPAN), Lagos organised by Ijodee Dance Company.
They noted that almost all African countries have abandoned the dance sector which could be a money spinner, if well developed.
Mr Adossou Richard said that the dance industry in the Benin Republic was lagging behind compared to other industries and advised that more citizens should be involved when the government showed reasonable interest.
He said the government could finance the dance industry by creating an avenue for dancers to be trained, adding that it was not enough for only the private investors to groom it.
“Government getting involved in the dance industry should start from creating an avenue for intending dancers to be trained and re-orientate citizens to stop viewing dancers as jobless individuals, “ he said.
Another Beninoise dancer, Mr Ahehehinnou Orpheer, urged each African country to set aside one week for annual dance festivals which would entice dance lovers from all over the world to visit such a country.
According to him, this will greatly improve the country’s inbound tourism and attract huge revenue.
“Each African country should have a week slated for the dance festival, this will boost tourism,’’ he said.
Also, Mr Jacob Mache from Austria, and a lecturer at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, said that African countries should realise that dance could be groomed to spin huge revenue like the Nollywood, Hollywood, Bollywood of if well harnessed.
He said governments establish dance studios where professional dancers could train intending ones who could go to other countries for purposes of cultural exchange and diplomacy.
According to him, there should be dance performances every weekend in each of the studios for dance lovers to relax for leisure and pay a token.
“Dance industry can be as big as our Bollywood, Nollywood and even bigger if government funds it.
“Government should build dance studios where dance performances can be showcased every weekend and the viewers will pay a token to watch.
Mr Chareigraphe Didier, also a Beninoise, said that the dance industry must be preserved as an important element of African cultural heritage.
“When dances peculiar to each ethnic group or tribe is developed and frequently performed, the people get to know more of their culture because dance conveys cultural traits just like our movies,’’ he said.