Batalo Dance Festival 2023 Review

Batalo Dance Festival Review: Celebrating Unity and Cultural Richness

In its 9th edition, the Batalo Dance Festival, initiated in 2013 at the National Theatre, continues to be a beacon of cultural unity, bringing together over 1,000 young performers from various countries. This dynamic event seamlessly intertwines African culture with urban expression, fostering unity among diverse clans and tribes while celebrating Uganda’s distinctive heritage through music, dance, training, and discussions.

Diverse Performances:

In its 9th year, the Batalo Dance Festival, held at the newly inaugurated “Batalo East Creative Center” in Kachonga, Butaleja District, proved to be a vibrant celebration of cultural unity, bringing together over 102 young performers from diverse backgrounds. The festival showcased a dynamic blend of traditional, contemporary, and urban dances, featuring 102 artists on stage from Tanzania, Jinja, Kampala, Mbale, as well as local talents like Born to be Bad dance crew and New Steppers dance crews, Cool zaga dance crew, Embayire troupe, Suna junior troupe, Huholera-nghala troupe, and Musican from Butaleja’s youth community and about 3500 audience.

The festival’s electrifying atmosphere left the audience and local leaders impressed, affirming the positive impact on the community. 

Frank Ocheng, a radio presenter at Step FM and Open Gate in Mbale, praised the festival’s aim to address youth identity crises and provide a safe space for creativity and innovation.

Desenulimu Denis; expressed joy, emphasizing the festival’s role in showcasing Banyoli cultural dance to the world. 

Prince Kadyama; from Kachonga expressed surprise and happiness at the unexpected cultural extravaganza, likening it to bringing Nambole stadium to Kachonga. 

Hamza;  echoed the sentiment, highlighting the need for continuous development in Butaleja and suggesting a weekly recurrence of the festival.

Sara Nasinge marveled at the accessibility of such high-quality entertainment for free in Kachonga, foreseeing a positive impact on Bunyoli’s development. The Batalo Dance Festival 2023, with its diverse performances and community engagement, stands as a testament to the transformative power of cultural expression and unity.

Milestone Inauguration:
The inauguration of the Batalo East Creative Center is a significant milestone, poised to become a nucleus for talent development, cultural preservation, intergenerational dialogue, and social and economic growth through the performing arts. This center is dedicated to nurturing the potential of Butaleja’s youth.

Looking Ahead to 2024:
As we reflect on the success of the 2023 festival, we eagerly anticipate your support and participation in the upcoming 2024 events. These celebrations not only honor our culture but also play a crucial role in nurturing and empowering the youth of Butaleja. Together, we can forge a brighter and more culturally enriched future.

For more information and to contribute to our mission, please contact: ,


Kadodi is one of the most popular and celebrated cultural dances from the eastern region, specifically Mbale. The dance is typically performed at the Gishu male circumcision initiation ceremony, commonly known as the Imbalu.



To Belong – Dance piece

At what point and to what extent do we exercise our choice to choose what, where and with whom to belong? And does it ever matter in a society where so much is lost in translation and transition? Where masses are manipulated into unconscious royalties and conformism?


Choreographed by: Sebulime Elisha Davis



  • Mugisha Frank

  • Apio Sharon

  • Twinomujuni Ivan

  • Salama Natabi

Gemin Dance piece:

Mirroring our world, in which Science & Technology are redefining our reality, each invention offering new solutions while leaving a trail of problems in its wake.

In a game of power and codependency between the Maker and the Made, GEMINI begs the question, “Who’s really in control “?Choreographed by: Catherine Nakawesa


  • Shane Munina
  • Charlotte Kaweesa Shanta
  • Tumwebaze Daphne
  • Music Composer/Pianist Justus M. Archangel

Embayire troupe

Suna junior troupe

Huholera-nghala troupe from Butaleja District.

The love you give – Dance piece

The way we love is influenced by many factors and can vary significantly. Especially for people who have grown up between different cultures, loving can be more complex, as they are confronted with divergent concepts of love.


Choreographed by: Muhammed Kaltuk (Switzerland) 


  • Salama Natabi
  • Tumwebaze Daphne
  • Bwambale Shafiki
  • Kateregga Umar Nafi


Through a blend of expressive movements, storytelling, and visual imagery, this performance reveals the intricate web of bondage that trauma weaves and its profound consequences on individuals and communities.


Choreographed by: Nabaggala Lilian Maximilian


  • Nambalirwa Joan Jojo
  • Rwankubwa Jerom
  • Wanyenze Joldine Ann
  • Kakande Joel
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