United Tribes NewsPowwow to feature African group
11 August 2009
BISMARCK (UTN) - The featured cultural arts dance group at this year’s 40th annual United Tribes International Powwow is “Soweto Street Beat,” representing the Zulu Kingdom of South Africa. Daily performances are scheduled September 11-13 at 9:30 p.m. in the powwow arena.
Soweto Street Beat Dance Theater Inc. (SSB) is the only professional South African dance troupe in the United States. The non-profit organization began in 1989 in Soweto Township, Johannesburg, South Africa and relocated to Atlanta in 1992.
Their mission is to teach audiences of all ages and cultural backgrounds about the cultural arts and history of South Africa.
Executive Director, Peter Ngcobo and Artistic Director Isabelle Doll Ngcobo, have 50 years combined experience in African Dance performance and instruction.
SSB began as an organization that targeted at risk youth who are surrounded by crime and poverty in Soweto. The young men were taught to become professional dancers and cultural ambassadors. They learned methods of channeling their energies that were building up throughout years of apartheid into positive, creative activities.
Today, SSB continues this teaching to South African youth, bringing them to America to study dance and receive valuable academic experience not readily available in South Africa.
SSB prepares an annual performance during Black History Month, in addition to special public shows and hundreds of school appearances throughout the year. The performances focus on the history of the Zulu Nation, and their unique dance and music styles that come from South African ethnic groups: Zulu, Swazi, Venda, Shangaan, Bushmen, Sotho, and Xhosa.
The dance performances of Soweto Street Beat have helped to set a precedent for contemporary dance and culture in the New South Africa.
After apartheid, SSB became the first professional South African dance company to perform at venues and festivals in South Africa, Europe and America.
The United Tribes International Powwow (September 10-13, 2009) takes place in the Lone Star Arena dance arbor at United Tribes Technical College, 3315 University Drive, Bismarck, North Dakota. Admission is $12 daily or $20 for the weekend. For performance times and more, follow this link!
Most Celebrated Appearances
1996 Olympic Festival (Only African dance company to perform at the Olympic Games)
Annual performances at Walt Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Jimmy Carter’s The Atlanta Project (with Michael Jackson)
Lincoln Center for Performing Arts
New Jersey Performing Arts Center
Coca Cola World Cultural Festival
Since its founding, Soweto Street Beat has performed for over 5 million people