aboutus

Mzuri Dance is a for purpose dance, music arts facilitation service. We provide professional performances, classes and workshops specialising in African music and dance. We are a social enterprise, creating access for all, learning from indigenous cultural practice to bring people of diverse backgrounds together in skill sharing and culture sharing for social equity.

Ayel Akot talks about meeting Suzie Mzuri at Yarra Estates and how they began collaborating with footage of Ayel and Suzie in the early days with Mzuri Children's dance group training session in action.
Mzuri artists performing in the Mzuri Dance band - Mari Bagnath, Tariro Manatsa,  Batsi Mongoma, Caitlin Griffiths, Sally Coldham, Randy Boroquaye, Mpaphi Nfandizo + final clip of Suzie performing with King Bell + Soukous Ba Congo at Premier Gala.

MISSION

 Mzuri Dance creates performance art, building capacity with artists and young people in Melbourne and working towards social equity through the arts.

 

We facilitate creative and culturally appropriate dance and music immersion for all people with a process that welcomes a performance outcome to create opportunities for people of all backgrounds to connect and share culture, stories and voices so they can be heard and seen.

 

We facilitate new opportunities for skill sharing and culture sharing between diverse communities through weekly dance classes for women and children.

We focus on levelling the playing field - creating access to the arts for vulnerable and marginalised communities for
 social equity, opportunity and change. 

We provide awesome, relevant and creative workshops and performances that draw on music, voice, dance and performance as a medium for health and well being, cultural expression, social cohesion and personal learning.  

 

 

Meet  founding Director,
Suzanne Watts

Mzuri Dance embodies all that I love to learn, practice and share. I come home to myself and feel connected to mother earth in the music, the dance, through my love of teaching and performing African music and dance. We can all learn so much from the indigenous knowledge keepers if we can listen.

I am learning from the ancient cultures that the healing of trauma is through the body, and the arts has a gigantic role to play in the necessary change required in human behaviour to reverse and heal planet earth and support the social, mental, spiritual and physical health of all of us who live here.

suzie dance workshop with the kids 2.jpg
ayel akot costume.jpg

Meet
Leading Artist  
Ayel Akot

I believe in strong leadership and social skills and the ability to be flexible, energetic, creative and take initiative where appropriate.

I have empathy with, and an ability to gain the co-operation and assistance of a range of people, in particular young people and am so passionate about connecting with them through exciting cultural arts projects that convey a message or explore an idea as we all need to connect and have so much to express.

 

I also love teaching the children with Suzie each week at my own community in Atherton Gardens Fitzroy. They have so many idea's and are really needing to dance again after the year of Covid and being in lockdown in the towers. 
 

Mzuri
Story

Listening to my heart. 
some anecdote's from Suzie's early life
leading to Mzuri Dance

Music and dance has been at my heart since I could walk and talk. Mum took me to see The Australian Ballet at the Palais Theatre, I was 3 years old and it was like a thunderbolt. My first dance and song composition was in year 2 and by year 3 I was choreographing the year 4's. I found dance making a great way to connect with people in my primary school years and I eventually relied on it at Secondary too. I was completely obsessed with Ballet, Contemporary, Jazz, ( 6 days a week training after school) and eventually Michael Jackson. ‘Sweet Feet’ was my breakdance name at the City Square and our crew was 'The Chewy Sisters'. I joined the traditional Peruvian dance of Victoria because my bestie was Peruvian Australian and I experienced my first cross cultural African dance training with a cotton-fields slave song and dance that translated “well my arse is bigger than yours”. I was then invited to join Sambole Traditional African Ballet Company by Patrice Lamumba ( Collingwood Footballer Harry Lamumba's Father) and our first performance was at St Kilda Festival. I had won 1st and then 2nd place the following year in a Dance Australia Ballet Teacher workshop choreography competition in the City of Melbourne and was very much an aspiring choreographer by my late teens. If you are still with me and interested to know more of my story, click on boxes below.. 

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Starting Out

Teaching + Gigs

Mzuri Girls +  Afrovival

Mzuri Story continued

Follow us

Mzuri Dance create, practice and engage on the lands of the Wurundjeri people and we wish to acknowledge them as Traditional Owners. We would also like to pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging, and Aboriginal Elders of other communities.

 

Mzuri Dance acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the Traditional Custodians of the land and acknowledges and pays respect to their Elders, past and present and emerging.

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