IYASA is Zimbabwe’s multi award winning performing arts school for youths established in 2001 to support and promote the best interests of young musicians, dancers, actors and poets. It has since expanded to be a resource centre for most established and upcoming artistes, especially musicians, singers and dancers. IYASA is based in the city of Bulawayo in Zimbabwe.
IYASA has a talented and committed team of skilled and highly trained artistes in music, dance, drama and poetry,film and other genres. Through comprehensive workshops, projects, training programmes and performances in and outside Zimbabwe IYASA plays an integral role in the development and promotion of talent in music, dance, film, poetry and theatre.
IYASA has become a household name in Zimbabwe and also established themselves into an internationally recognized organization and ambassadors of African performing arts through projects and performances locally, regionally and internationally. This includes U.S.A, Austria, Germany, Serbia, Czech Republic, South Africa, Botswana,Swaziland,Zambia, Slovakia, and U.K among others.
IYASA is an abbreviation for INKULULEKO YABATSHA SCHOOL OF ARTS which translates to FREEDOM FOR YOUNG PEOPLE SCHOOL OF ARTS. Their motto is ‘there goes the morning star’ a pun on the name IYASA which in Ndebele also means sunrise and the fact that their ideal is to bring light and opportunity to young and youthful artistes just like the morning star that heralds day after night.
Fulltime members: 20
Trainees: 25-50 per year
Office admin: 3
PRODUCTIONS & PROJECTS
SPIRIT OF AFRICA
A powerful celebration of thrilling energy, melodious voices, pounding drums and rhythms and inspirational dances from Zimbabwe and across Southern Africa. The show expresses and presents a true traditional and original menu of musical and dance heritage of Africa. The talented young performers with vibrant voices and dynamic energetic dances will set your imagination free, sweep you off your feet and possess you with a heart throbbing, long lasting…Spirit of Africa. It’s a free visit to rich African culture and traditions.
DANCING WITH THE STARS
An amazing blend of energy, colourful costumes and electric dance choreography, rhythms and inspirational dances .The show presents a non stop salivating menu of traditional, Khwela, breakdance, Marabi, Pop, Pantsula jive among others. It is an exciting journey of past and present popular music and dances of Southern Africa. It’s also a flashback of the oldies, musical and dance legends, the Tina Turners, Brenda Fassies, Mahottela Queens, Solomon Skuza and the sweet memories of those times. The show is a hit at festivals, theatres, ceremonies, leisure centres and parts of the production have also been performed at weddings and co-operate functions, seminars and conferences. It’s a rare opportunity to DANCE WITH THE STARS
This is a musical theatre production performed in conjunction with Theatro Piccolo, a theatre company based in Austria. The production premiered in Vienna, Austria in 2006.It is a story told in music, dance, film, puppetry and convertible to German and English. It is a true life story based on China Keitetsi a former child soldier born in Uganda. It unveils an emotional story of emotional, spiritual and physical abuse that she and other children encountered when they were forced to be child soldiers. She was 8 years old then and the production trails her life until she fled to South Africa and later Denmark where she is now an avid campaigner against the use of child soldiers world wide including other forms of child abuse.
It is a children’s puppetry, dance and music theatre production built on an African fairytale about the Elephant, the Hare and the Moon. Due to a drought the animals decide to grow pumpkins. Elephant is greedy and lazy to work while Hare toils on each day to nurture the pumpkins. Before harvest, pumpkins disappear. Even on the night the biggest of the all Elephant is on guard the pumpkins continue to disappear. Hare decides to take responsibility, and stands as guard hiding himself in one of the pumpkins which unfortunately is gobbled by the thief. Elephant is the thief, as the animals finally discover when the hare speaks from his stomach. A comic story about conscience, the shall voices that speak from within our souls and about the abuse of the little ones by the big ones. The show is performed with Austrian company Theatro Piccolo.
ZEBRA & UMNTWANA WE AFR
The two titles herald a long standing tradition from Africa. Story Telling. Through the notion that language is the shortest way to a man s heart the two productions are storytelling pieces in which a performer tells African fairy tales in the language children understand, i.e. German in Austria or Germany and English should it be am English speaking country. This is done in the old fashion style of African storytelling and built around music and dance from Iyasa. Umntwana We Africa is however different because instead it is based on the true life of an African child and their childhood adventures. The shows are popular with schools and children’s theatres and festivals.
AFRICAN MARCHEN / AFRICAN STORIES
Fairytales, myths, stories they all accompany us through our lives. For some stages in our lives they have a higher importance than elsewhere, such as during our childhood. Although they are more involved in some cultures than in others, you will find them all around the world. In „Afrikanische Märchen the Ensemble IYASA provides an insight into traditional fairytales and stories from Grandmas time. They also remind us of adventures from the own childhood. Games, dances and songs will be shown, which are still performed today by the children in the streets of Bulawayo.The long tradition of music in Africa, especially song & dance as a form of expression, is carried forward by IYASA in an impressing way. With strong voices and moving dances, emotions will be imparted, which cannot be described in a linguistic manner. All the stories are narrated with huge bags, filled sacks and suitcases in between two worlds, in between beginning and ending and again beginning. The show was directed and produced by Mr Stephan Rabl of the Dschungel Wien in Austria and performed by Iyasa in German language. It is a speech, dance and music production.
INHLONIPO – Respect
Dance is a universal language which when used effectively will break barriers, open up people culturally and enable them to communicate their story using the body. The body is an amazing instrument which can be used to create fantastic vocabulary to send out all sorts of messages. Even with dancers coming from different backgrounds and training the experience is such that it brings out another dimension to the way performers showcase their talent while at the same time challenge their creativity.Two of Zimbabwe’s best Dance groups collaborate to create an unusual work that crosses their genres of their expertise. The work crosses technical boundaries and explores Zimbabwe’s raw talent at its best. Inhlonipo is a work that is inspired by all those workers who do all the dirty work, the hardest work on the ground and never get any credit for it at all.
Co-production with TUMBUKA DANCE COMPANY OF ZIMBABWE
In this piece Iyasa expores the trials, tribulations and challenges brought about by intermarriage.It is not only a marriage of flesh and souls but that of cultures, traditions and beliefs. What happens when two people from different cultures and backgrounds fall in love?Whose culture gives way or should give way? Is there a compromise? Is love defined the same way all over the world? Where should one draw the line? The emotional dance and musical theatre is a brainteaser dubbed by one press critic as “Romeo & Juliet of the times.It could not have come at a better time!”
WORKSHOPS & TRAINING
Iyasa believes in the need to share skills and besides performance they also hold workshops in several aspects that include dance, singing, theatre skills, and drumming within Zimbabwe and internationally.They also organise cultural exchange programmes especially for children and young scholars and artistes in Zimbabwe linking them with penpals and other children worldwide