Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Mayotte dancing with Zaza Tsara

Journeys: free dance festival

The free dance festival, Journeys, returns for its fourth year this weekend (23/24 July), with a once-in-a-lifetime dance experience: a UK premiere by Zaza Tsara – a troupe of 40 dancers from Mayotte, a tiny archipelago in the Indian Ocean, between Madagascar and Mozambique.

The performance in Hastings will be supported by Gabbidon Band, described as ‘one of the finest reggae bands working in the UK’, and fronted by Basil Gabbidon, founder member and lead guitarist of world-renowned, three-times Grammy nominated reggae band Steel Pulse.

baz guit hard (2)

Gabbidon Band with Basil Gabbidon

‘This dance style has never been performed in the UK before,’ says Mandy Curtis, director of 18 Hours, the event’s producers. ‘Audiences will also be able to see the unique body art with which Mayottian dancers adorn their faces – a decorative style not seen in any other part of the world.’


Mayotte dancers

The performance has been planned in collaboration with the UK’s only Mayottian resident, Anyme Abdullah, who lives and works in Hastings. Anyme, who is a well-known recording artist in Mayotte, will perform alongside Zaza Tsara. ‘Mayottian dance is uplifting and joyful, whether they are dancing to traditional music or Beyoncé’, says Anyme. ‘This weekend they will be doing both.’

In the days before the event, the Mayottian dancers will run dance workshops with local dance group the Phoenix Flyers, in preparation for joint performances on Saturday.


Mayotte dancers

‘Journeys Dance Festival is for everyone, young and old’, says Mandy, ‘Whether you have a dance, learn some steps or simply sit and enjoy the show.’

If you can’t make the Hastings performance, the troupe will also perform at 1.30pm on Sunday 24 July on the Metropole Lawns by the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill (with live dance workshop from local belly-dancing troupe Sheikh’s Delights). Audiences are advised to bring fold-out chairs, as there is limited seating on the lawns.

For more information about Journeys Dance Festival, visit

Journeys: Free Dance Festival

Hastings: Saturday 23 July, 7.30pm, The Stade, Hastings
Bexhill: Sunday 24 July, 1.30pm, Metropole Lawns, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill

We advise bringing fold-out chairs, especially to Bexhill.

Journeys is an annual festival which presents free, culturally diverse dance performances in outdoor spaces across Hastings and Rother, with a programme which frequently mainstreams professional dancers with disabilities. Previous years have seen Japanese Butoh, Indian Kathak, Zimbabwean dance, tango, flamenco, jive and contemporary dance in Rye, Bexhill and Hastings. Journeys is supported by Arts Council England, Hastings Borough Council, Rother District Council, the Foreshore Trust and East Sussex Arts Partnership.


Posted 12:19 Wednesday, Jul 20, 2016 In: Performance

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