Bawren Tavaziva (Zimbabwe/UK)

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Bawren Tavaziva was born in a rural village near Masvingo in Zimbabwe. Football, Michael Jackson, New Edition and Kung Fu movies viewed at the local community hall in the Harare suburb of Tafara provided inspiration for Bawren and his friends. They practiced the admired dance styles, karate moves and football skills in the streets where the children of the neighborhood gathered. Bawren’s musical talents also developed at this time on a guitar made by his brother from a 5 litre tin can and fishing wire.

As Bawren reached his teens he was drawn to a dance program created by The National Ballet and run by Viv and Chris Hamblin. The program targeted talented under-privileged youngsters. Classes were given in contemporary dance, traditional dance and ballet in community halls in the large townships that surround Harare. Bawren was selected to join the City Youth Dance Group where the most talented received extra classes. At eighteen years old Bawren was selected as an apprentice for Tumbuka Dance Company in Harare, with whom he toured across Africa and Europe with for five years.

In 1998 Bawren moved to the UK where he performed with Phoenix Dance Theatre, Union Dance Company, Jazzxchange, Carol Brown and Sakoba Dance Theatre.

Bawren first choreographed work was ‘Wachona’ for Tumbuka Dance Company in 1994. The sense, in this piece, of the traditional existing side by side with modern culture as it is evolving in Zimbabwe today remains the theme that Bawren returns to continually in his work. Bawren’s choreography has been commissioned by Union Dance Company, ACE Dance and Music, Tumbuka Dance Company, Ballet Black, Srishti and State of Emergency.  Bawren is also a talented musician, and has commissioned music for Phoenix and Union Dance Company and for all his own works.

In 2004, Bawren choreographed ‘Umdlalo kaSisi’ a piece about the loss of a loved one to AIDS. ‘Umdlalo kaSisi’ was selected as one of five finalists in the prestigious Place Prize, sponsored by Bloomberg. As a result of his choreographic success, Bawren formed Tavaziva Dance in 2004 and began touring nationally and internationally before becoming a Regularly Funded Organisation of Arts Council England in 2005. In 2007 Bawren choreographed the Sampad/Tara Arts national touring production ‘Motherland’, and other projects included creating work in India and Canada (COBA and Dance Immersion).  In 2008 Bawren created his first out-door site specific piece ‘Beautiful People’ commissioned by the Withoutwalls Street Arts Consortium.  In 2009 Bawren was invited back to Canada by Dance Immersion to collaborate with Bakari Lindsey on ‘City of Tribes’  featuring dancers from COBA (Collective of Black Artists) and Tavaziva Dance.

In summer 2010 Bawren Tavaziva received a musical and choreographic commission from Bucks University to create a thirty minute site specific piece as part of the ‘Rhythm in Sport’ project, also in Summer 2010 Bawren was Rehearsal Director for Gregory Maqoma’s new work commissioned by State of Emergency.

Bawren has mentored Idrissa Camara of Ballet Nimba and has recently received an invitation to be part of Rambert Dance Company’s Choreographic Development Porgramme to mentor an aspiring choreographer.