It was an early morning. I stumbled out of the cab and into the airport. The sun wasn’t up yet and neither was I. I walked into the airport in a fog hoping that no one would recognize me behind my scarf, glasses and sleepy eyes.
“Oh hi Judge Joanne” a few people said as I walked to the counter. It would be another hour and a half before the flight took off. There was a delay but I used this time to think about past auditions and tried to imagine this one in Eldoret.
We finally arrived. The weather was warm and wet. We drove past green, muddy pastures of lush countryside. I wondered if any of the dancers who would be auditioning lived here. When we arrived I said hello to the dancers. Looks of fear and dread crossed their faces as I wished them well for the auditions.
As I mentioned before I was sleepy from arriving at the airport at 5am. As the time for the auditions moved closer and closer however I became like a hip hop energizer bunny on coffee. I hadn’t had any coffee but the excitement before a show always gets my adrenaline flowing at an all-time high. I love dance and am excited at the fact that I have a part to play in helping the Kenyan dance industry to expand.
The dance crews came out on stage one after another. We offered comments and suggestions on how the dancers could improve on their technique, style, stage presence, wardrobe, choreography and the like. Still, none of the groups knew just who had made it into Sakata Mashariki.
Overall Eldoret has potential. It would be good if several dance teachers and choreographers could spend several months in Eldoret training young dancers but I know that this is a lot to ask of someone. I can see that the crews do the best that they can on their own. I cannot expect professional dancers where the resources to be professional are not in place. I can however, expect to see some of the Eldoret crews in Sakata Mashariki and during that time I’ll do what I can to encourage them to be the best at who they are and what they love.