The story of BATUKE! Festival
The Batuke! Festival started out of our passion for the music and dance of Afro - Portuguese countries. We realised that there is a special rapport and connection between all the Portuguese speaking countries, a recognition of common experiences through music and dance. In 2010, when we started there was no platform in the UK where Afro - Portuguese artists were represented, the community could experience their culture in a professional space, young and old, and share their common heritage. So, we decided to just go ahead and do it ourselves! We self produced initially through our regular events. It was very risky, but we believed in it so we made it work! The team derived from Iris De Brito social dance school at the time - Studio Afro Latino. Roles were delegated, artists contacted, plenty of volunteering support and voila! We became the go - to festival in the UK representing Afro-Portuguese culture, created a space for artistic development, cultural exchange and research. Guest artists came from the USA, France, Senegal, Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique and the UK. We were founded by the Arts Council for 5 years and developed creative partnerships.
In 2019 we achieved a fantastic milestone with our 10th Anniversary and decided to have a break.
We are now looking towards developing a new event, investing in organisational development and research. Make sure you continue to follow us and connect with us through Afro - Portuguese culture!
African dance // Fusion movement
Originally from Ugie, South Africa, Mbulelo Ndabeni is a London based dancer, choreographer, movement director, teacher, founder and director of Mbulelo Ndabeni I Nad dance.
Mbulelo trained in Dance For All, Khayelitsha in Cape Town, London Studio Center, San Francisco Academy of Ballet and Kaatsbaan New York.Mbulelo Ndabeni has performed with companies such as Rambert, Henri Oguike, Merce Cunningham, Mathew Bourne Swan Lake,Christopher Huggins company, amongst many others.
Mbulelo has gained valuable experience and skills over many years working with the top UK dance companies an organisations as well as award winning artists such as Ladysmith Black Mambazo, "Inala", Goshka Macuga "End of Line and Daniel Brandt "Eternal something".
Awarded One Dance UK/DAD Trailblazer 2015/2016, One Dance UK mentoring programme, Phoenix Dance Theatre choreographer's and composers Lab 2015 and recipient of Dancers career development fund.
Its the first time Mbulelo is at BATUKE! and we look forward to sharing his knowledge and energy.