Congolese Dancer Bush Sebar Takes Us Behind The Scenes of His Latest Visual
Updated: Apr 25, 2022
We connected with Congolese dancer Bush Sebar to get a taste of Ndombolo live and direct from Congo. Bush is 20 years old and runs the Invisible Kids Academy (a center that uses dance to heal and develop vulnerable children in Goma, DRC). This is our second collaboration with Bush and in this collaboration he takes us to his home town of Rutshuru, Congo.
Bush offers Ndombolo classes online, live and direct from Congo. Funds paid for classes help to support his Invisible Kids Academy.
1. AFROCONEX: Bush, the video is amazing. You really brought a big concept to life and gave us a taste of Congo. Tell us more about the video concept?
BUSH: Yes, the video is shot in Rutshuru, Congo, which is about 68 km from Goma, where I currently live. I’m from Rutshuru, this is where my parents were born. It is a mountainous village located in Nord Kivu Provice in Congo. The village is subdivided into 2 parts. One part is called Buisha, and the other part is called Bwito. We shot the video in Bwito.
I really wanted to return to my hometown to give visibility to a part of Congo that gets little visibility. Rutshuru is a territory that isn’t at peace, so the situation is very difficult in general. Dancers there are unaware of the many things that is happening in dance. They lack exposure and opportunity, and I saw this as a way to give them exposure and opportunity. So I went there and created a video with them, talked to them about what’s happening with dance, how they can use dance to better themselves and how they can develop and market themselves. It was a great experience.
2. AFROCONEX: Amazing!! Bush, one thing we have learned about you is that you care deeply for your fellow Congolese, and go out of your way to always lend a helping hand. Let’s talk about the dancing in the video. The style is Ndombolo, which is native to Congo. Can you tell us when and why you started dancing this style?
BUSH: Yes, I started dancing in 2014 (I was around 12 years old) and started training in African styles around 2017. I learned Ndombolo by myself, mostly by watching Congolese dancers on TV. Eventually, I started attending local workshop and got some professional training. I also researched by talking with local Ndombolo dancers to better understand the style and what it required. However, as I mentioned I was self taught, the majority of my development came from myself.
I became attracted to Ndombolo because it is a very popular local style from Congo. It is a dance that many Congolese do as a way to come together, celebrate many things and have a good time. I also noticed that many international dancers living in Europe and the United States were dancing Ndombolo. This honestly surprised me, because in Congo most dancers want to learn other non Congolese styles; they always overlook learning the local styles.
So yes, I chose Ndombolo because I love Africa, I love my country—Congo, and I love my culture.
3. AFROCONEX: Bush It's important that people like you dedicate themselves to learning and developing local styles. It’s the only way these styles can grow and develop to become bigger! So thank you for your dedication to Ndombolo. Tell us, what do you think is required to be a good Ndombolo dancer ?
BUSH: Well, dancing Ndombolo is all about your vibe and energy. It is a happy dance, so always showing you are feeling the music, smiling when you dance, moving your hips and of course feeling the beat. To me Ndombolo is the atmosphere, it’s the whole experience that comes through in your dance
4. AFROCONEX: there are a few details that standout for us in the video: 1) the focus on the sewing machine. 2) the food market and 3) the waist cloths Can you tell us more about these details ?
BUSH: yes, the guy using the sewing machine is an Ndombolo dancer from Rutshukra. His name is Lauran and he’s a leader of a local dance crew. I included the sewing machine because sewing has been important in my life. It is my other job aside from dancing. My mother also sews and her sewing helped to feed the family, providing food and clothes for the family to this day. So it was important for me to include this detail in the video.
You know the reality is many dancers here in Congo, don’t have the opportunity to study or work in offices. So dancers have to take on side work like sewing to make a living. We have many tailors like myself who also dance.
The waist cloths I am not fully sure the history or meaning behind them, but we use to help accentuate the movements of the hips. In our traditional dances we use linecloths, to facilitate in the movements of the hips.
The food market is another example of village life. In Rutshuru, many people are farmers and there is an abundance of food. The market is a place farmers sell their food.
5. AFROCONEX: thank you Bush! We look forward to our next collaboration and your continued growth as a dancer and leader in your community.
BUSH: I want to say thank you to AfroConex for giving me this opportunity. For supporting me to develop this big project. It was a dream to go to my home town and dance with them. So I am very happy about that. Thanks for everything you have done to help promote Invisible Kids Academy. Our first video for AfroConex gained us more exposure and we are very thankful for that. I look forward to working with you guys more!
Some behind the scenes footage from the shoot.