Zim, SA to contest at WCOPA in Hollywood

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Jonathan Mbiriyamveka

 

Harare --- South Africa and Zimbabwe are expected to represent the region at the 22nd annual World Championship of Performing Arts beginning from July 6 to 15 in Hollywood, the United States of America.

South Africa will be represented by a group of over 25 performing artists while Zimbabwean will have 10 talented youths.

The Zimbabwean team left early this week accompanied by Renius Ngara, the chairperson of performing arts department from the Great Zimbabwe University.

Apparently, GZU was the first institute of higher learning to contest at the world’s prestigious performing arts event which is also dubbed as ‘Talent Olympics’ held in Long Beach, California, and is the only event of its kind.

Organisers --- the Zimbabwe Championship of Performing Arts --- bemoaned lack of funds for the contest although they pulled through with little or no support from corporates and Government.

Nyarai Jessica Tandy, the co-founder and national director of ZiCOPA, reiterated that funding was a major handicap for the performing arts.

“Given the amount of money needed, I think the coporates and the Government could do more to support the initiative. We were happy with the support of US Embassy in Zimbabwe.

“We have had to use our money to fund the trip because it takes about US$6 000 per head for the air ticket, accommodation and food. Then you also pay for registration and it depends on the number of the activities per  individual. It is mostly parents who funded the trip,” Tandy said.

Speaking at the send-off ceremony in Harare, ZTA head of corporate affairs, Godfrey ‘Chief’ Koti urged the delegation to represent the brand and destination Zimbabwe well.

Koti said the ZTA was fully behind the Zimbabwe Championship of Performing Arts for hoisting the flag high in Hollywood.

He said as ZTA they would beginning next year support ZICOPA on a grand scale.

Nigel Dutiro, a contestant who failed to make it to Hollywood, made calls for funding saying the performing arts were in no way less than other professions.

Dutiro urged corporates and Government to support performing arts saying they were important tool in keeping the Zimbabwean dream alive.

Among the Zimbabwean contestants are Mpiwa Gwindi (17), a marimba player, vocalist, contemporary dancer and actress, as well as Munotida Pfende (17) who is a rapper and dancer.

Guitarist Sylent Nqo did the nation proud last year when he performed at WCOPA.

The WCOPA encompasses singers, dancers, actors, models, instrumentalists and variety artists.

Performers are selected from the US, Canada, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Europe, Asia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Contestants from more than 60 countries will be vying for the gold and more than half a million in scholarships and prizes from New York Film Academy, New York Conservatory of Dramatic Arts, Prime Music, Indasoul Music, K & K Productions, Debbie Allen Dance Academy, LA Models, Oleg Cassini, K & K Production and CSM Words/Music.

Saturday, July 7, the week of events kicks-off with WORLDSTARS Boot Camp, 22 workshops presented by top industry experts such as Romeo Johnson, former vocal coach of "The Voice" and Vocal Director of MTV's P.Diddy's "Making His Band," and Crista Sides Klayman, Director of RUNWAY, L.A. MODELS, Inc. - considered the most successful runway agent in the nation.

Sunday, July 8 at 6.30pm, at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center Plaza, the public is invited to the spectacular Opening Ceremonies/Parade of Nations with hundreds of contestants parading and performing in colorful, traditional costuming from around the world; free to the public.

Friday, July 13, The Finals Show will be held at the Terrace Theatre in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center with pre-show at 6:30PM, followed by the 7:00PM - 9:00PM live webcast.

Final Night Judges include Anita Mann, Choreographer whose credits include The Academy Awards, The Golden Globe Awards and The Emmy Awards, Jeffrey Weber, multi-Grammy Award winner with more than 30 years as a major label producer, and James Charles of Elite Agency - industry expert on America's Next Top Model.

 

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