Alice in Bollywood

6 07 2013

Yes, you read that correctly. Not Wonderland, Bollywood. This was a National Ballet production and is essentially the start of the ballet season here in Harare. I saw a rehearsal last Friday and was more than a bit concerned but it all came together well and we were treated to another quality production that comes to an end today.

Wonderland was replaced by a Bollywood theme directed/produced by Ketan Nagar and we had all the usual characters – caterpillar, a Cheshire tiger, Mad Hatter’s tea party and of course the White Rabbit in the form of Thabani Ntuli of South African Mzansi Ballet¬† – and good he was too. Faye Jackson, Jan Clayton and Bibi Eastwood choreographed/directed the more conventional dancing. Principal Dancer Natalie Bradbury gave her usual quality performance as Alice. What a relief to see all those girls wearing their hair long for a change!

BMX is not unhealthy

9 06 2013

It was a hand painted sign at a T junction on the way into town advertising BMX racing at a track not too far from me so I decided it was worth investigating. I’ve never watched BMX before and anyway, I wanted to try a new technique of action photography involving a sense of motion; freezing the action with a high shutter speed is relatively easy with the instant playback capability of digital cameras.

Kharma and Zak were distinctly unimpressed when I drove out at 3.30 pm – it was obvious they were not going to get a walk. It’s a short drive into the suburbs to the BMX track attached to Old Georgians Sports Club. I had no idea what to expect but it certainly wasn’t a big international meet, just the locals racing. I asked an official what the advertising was about and he replied they were trying to attract new members but it certainly looked in better shape than the local paragliding scene. All ages were there – from 4 years on up.

As it got dark the track was lit with sodium lamps. Unfortunately the generator couldn’t cope with them all so as the cyclists went around the track the first lights were turned off. Only in Zimbabwe!

And the photography went OK too. No competition winners but I had fun discovering a new technique or two.

The competition was fierce

The competition was fierce

The seniors get airborne. Quite a lot higher than I was expecting!

The seniors get airborne. Quite a lot higher than I was expecting!

HIFA 2013 – day 3

3 05 2013

Day 3 of HIFA and three shows. One was not what I’d call a show but a talk by an American of his experiences coming to Zimbabwe for the first time as an adjudicator for the National Institute for Allied Arts. A very good talk but not a show and therefore no photos!

HIFA 2013 – day 2

1 05 2013

HIFA 2013 – day 1

30 04 2013

HIFA (Harare International Festival of the Arts) 2013 started today.  I had a relatively quiet day photographing 3 shows.

Africa light

4 12 2012

“Do you know what the diplomats call Zimbabwe?” Mark asked. “Africa light” he answered without letting me respond. “Much though our infrastructure has degenerated we still actually HAVE one and it does function. There are countries to the north of us who have a lot less”.

“Yes, that maybe” I responded “but there will always be those worse off than ourselves. That is no way to judge anything” I finally managed to get in. “I guess it’s just that we remember how it was” I added more to myself than anyone else.

“Why were you late?” Helen said, referring to my late arrival at our weekly Saturday gathering at the Gallery Delta where we discuss anything or nothing of relevance.

“I was taking photos of the Outreach Programme’s annual show for the DTZ” I replied.

“At least we HAVE a DTZ” Mark responded.

He had a point. The Dance Trust of Zimbabwe on whose board I sit does some really good work representing the interests of amateur dance in Harare. They have 4 arms and I have the responsibility of the Dance Foundation Course and get roped in to do photography when a show comes up, such as the Outreach Programme’s or the Stars of Tomorrow which had run the previous week.

Stars of Tomorrow showcases the various dance studios around the city and is a big undertaking involving hundreds (literally) of dancers.

The Outreach Programme takes dance to disadvantaged children (orphans, physically and mentally disabled) around the city in a really worthwhile programme aimed at giving a bit of self-esteem. This year their annual festival took place at the hall at the Emerald Hill School for the Deaf.