First Maputo Interschool Arts Workshop: May 2009
Sounds of stomping, slapping and whistling mingled with singing in English and Portuguese during the last weekend of May as 150 students and teachers from seven different local and international schools shared in the first annual Maputo Interschool Music and Theatre Workshop.
Our workshop offered students a choice of a variety of different performing arts activities. Each student signed up for a specific ensemble and rehearsed intensely in preparation for a short public performance on Sunday. The workshops were directed by AISM teachers, community members and high school students from around the world.
The largest ensemble – filling and threatening to break the makeshift wooden stage in their final performance – was the Gumboot dance troupe. Gumboots is a hugely popular Southern African art form that originated in the mines of South Africa as an underground system of communication between immigrant mine workers from neighboring countries, including Mozambique. Performed in a group, it involves intricate, rhythmic patterns of stomping and slapping one’s boots.
Deaf students played a major part in the Multilingual Theatre Ensemble, which told the story of the Pied Piper of Hamlin in three different languages: English. Portuguese and sign language. Other ensembles practiced capoeira, musical theatre, body percussion, and instrumental music.