Interview-Series:
Passion for dance

Wesley Ruzibiza
Wesley Ruzibiza | Antonia Kambouris

We met Wesley Ruzibiza who is a passionate about dance and theatre. He talks about his definition of passion and what dance truly means to him. We get insights in how dance and theatre can be combined, how emotions have a huge impact on dancing and the audience and what really constitutes art.

How would you define passion?
“Passion for me is the things that make you wake up in the morning and the things you can’t live without. I like to call this gut, it is this thing that lives within you and you can’t breathe without. Everyone has a passion and for some it can be work and for others it is food or anything else. As long as these things drive you and give you courage to be alive I call it passion.”

What emotions come up when you dance?
“Oh goodness… Well when I dance all set of emotions come up. Dance for me is the moment when you can really be vulnerable in front of people and you can really express yourself trough your body. So honestly all emotions come up, it depends on the story I am telling, depends on the moment I am in. I can be sad, I can be happy or I can be crazy, it really depends on the moment I am in when I am dancing. It is all a mix of emotions.”

How can dance touch the audience?
“Dance is this powerful way of transmitting an emotion, transmitting a story, transmitting a feeling without words. So it does not have a language or a culture attached to it. It is open to everyone. It is by dancing that I discover and I can actually be a human. For me it is the best way, the best way to raise a subject and talk about it without being judged or without being put in any box.  Dance is free so freedom can touch anyone.”

What impact can dance have for society?
“Dance is a healer. Dance is a teacher. Dance is a moment you share with others, so it can really create beautiful moments. It can reach places where normally we don’t reach as just one person. It is the best way to have a conversation and to put something on the table. It is the best way to have a discussion. It is the best way to educate people and it is the best way to get in touch with your inner feelings. I think dance it touches society by showing all emotions. It creates perspectives and possibilities where we can really share our humanity. Dance is the best teacher and the best healer, the best politician and the best indication. I mean it is everything because it comes from emotions. Emotions are true, emotions can never lie and a body can never lie.”

In which ways can dance be combined with theatre?
“Well as a dancer I always use both of them theatre and dance. As one of my best teachers told me theatre is the twin brother of dance and dance is the twin sister of theatre. The combination of the two they make art powerful. For people that do not understand the body they do not understand the language and the other way around. When you combine both of them you give people the best experience in art and watching a performance. So always combine them!”

With regard to the East African Nights of Tolerance you are having different trainings for Rwandan dancers. What are your hopes for this year’s EANT Festival?
“It has been two years since we performed in Kigali, so we are hoping to bring back the joy we used to bring and to bring back the conversation. For us the festival is not only an occasion to showcase the dancer community but it is also an occasion to share our different stories. This year we are talking about “Tomorrow is now” so how are you seeing your tomorrow and what do you want to say now? How do you create your tomorrow right now? So I am very excited because I know that we are going to see beautiful shows by young dancers and they have a lot to say. So it is just good to be back on stage and to enjoy!”

What would you tell dancers that are afraid to dance in front of people?
“For dancers who are afraid to go on stage what I would tell them is that we are all afraid to go on stage because when we go on stage we really become vulnerable. This is what is special about art because we showcase our vulnerability and we share our story without any string, without being afraid of being judged or being afraid to be seen differently. So it is normal to be afraid to dance in public but, we are passion, we are emotions and if we don’t share there’s no need to dance. So I would tell you to go over your fear and to really start being open to share your story, your dance as well as yourself to the rest of the world. That is the only way you can be true to your art and to your story.”

by Antonia Kambouris