Sign up for our free newsletter

Free D.C. news, delivered to your inbox daily.

SATURDAY

Rwanda has become synonymous with war, but some Rwandans prefer that you remember them for the Watusi. In its first full production in the United States, the Montreal-based Isangano Dance Troupe aims to close the cultural chasm that led to the early-’90s deaths of at least 800,000 Hutus and Tutsis. Isangano co-coordinators Jacques Rwirangira and Fiacre Rwirangira (no relation) prefer that their homeland be remembered for its vitality. When asked how many Tutsis and Hutus are in the dance group, Fiacre gets riled: “They are Rwandan, that’s it,” he says. Indeed, isangano means “meeting point”—the place where mutual agreement and understanding among diverse perspectives can occur. The Rwandan tragedy was officially declared genocide by the United Nations, but if Isangano Dance Troupe has its way, melody, movement, and the drum will mark the country’s future. Adorned with bamboo leaves and pearls to suggest honor and beauty, the women will perform Rwandan-style ballet; the men, complete with shields and spears, will perform the warrior dance reminiscent of the Watusi. Most of the Isangano’s 24 performers were born and raised outside Rwanda—in Zaire, Burundi, and Canada—but are nevertheless deeply connected to their adoptive country. At 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 2, at Howard University’s Cramton Auditorium, 2400 6th St. NW. $20 (proceeds benefit the Tumurere Foundation). (202) 806-7198. (Nefretiti Makenta)