Companhia Nacional de Canto e Dança (National Song and Dance Company) is the result of the efforts undertaken since independence, aimed at valuing people’s culture. What follows is a short description of its history, repertoire, tours, and awards.
History of the Company
In 1979, a group of young talented artists (dancers, musicians, actors, story tellers, etc.) joined to form an amateur dance troupe in the capital city of Maputo, under the auspices of the National Directorate for Culture. Those young men and women came from schools, state and private companies as well as from the Youth Organization. What followed was a true success story that led the newly formed ensemble to tour most of the country, thus establishing its nationwide reputation. In 1983, the group became professional and was renamed Companhia Nacional de Canto e Dança, its major goals being to collect, preserve and value, through public performance, the major expressive art forms (especially dance, music and theater) of the various peoples of Mozambique. In order to do so, artists were selected among the best performers in each of the nation’s 10 provinces and, at least once a year, they are sent to several parts of the country to learn new dances and songs that are incorporated into the company’s repertoire. The professionalization of the ensemble was, at once, a recognition of its outstanding contribution for better working conditions, especially financial and technical support, and to ensure even higher and higher performance standards.
Tours and awards
Each year, the Company’s season includes performances in the capital city and in a number of towns and villages around the country, reaching an audience of over 300,000. An unprecedented phenomenon is undoubtedly the presentation of history was undoubtedly the presentation, throughout the country, of the Ode to peace – in the artistic program for civic and electoral education financed by European Community which, from 1993 to 1994, led dance company to all provincial capitals as well as to 70 districts (Marínguè included) and mesmerized more than 2,000,000 spectators.
In addition, the company has had regular tours abroad, winning universal acclaim and rave reviews from critics. The company has visited these countries:
In AFRICA: Angola, Malawi, Nigeria, Reunion, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and South Africa, Tanzania, Libia, Congo.
In EUROPE: Bulgaria, Hungary, Denmark, France, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Romania, ex-Yugoslavia, Russia, Hungria, Czechoslovakia, Poland.
In ASIA: Macau, Dubai
In AMERICA: Brazil, Cuba, Guyana, Jamaica and United States of America
CNCD made its U.S. debut in the spring of 1998 with engagements at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, where the company was invited to return in 1999 and again in 2000 and 2002. During its spring 2000 tour of the United States, the company also performed in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Ohio, California, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. In the 2002 season, the company tours the United States and Canada with engagements coast-to-coast during an extended six-week tour, and visited NJPAC (the New Jersey Performing Arts Center) for perfomance alongside with the Urban Bush Women, an American Dance Company.
The good reputation and prestige the National Song and Dance Company has earned can be see in the number and significance of distinctions it has been honored with through the years, such as:
1981 Medal of honors at the World Youth and Student Festival Honors in the Sofia International Folk Festival (Bulgaria);
1982 Gold Medal at the Berliner Festag (Germany);
1984 Critics’ choice for ‘Best Presence’ at KIZOMBA the Rio de Janeiro International Festival of Negro Arts;
1985 10th Anniversary of Independence Prize;
1986 “Presenças/86” Prize, bestowed by the National Organization of Journalists;
1990 15th Anniversary of Independence Award;
1994 Letter of Appreciation by Prime Minister, Dr. Mário da Graça Machungo.
1995 His Excellency President Joaquim Alberto Chissano becomes the chief Sponsor of the National Song and Dance Company.
Companhia Nacional de Canto e Dança
1921, 24 de Julho Ave