African teams might have been edged out of the FIFA world cup but their culture continues to live on through music.One all-girls group in Russia has been bringing Africa to Russia through dance. The trio made a name for themselves for their love of African dance
Dancing a wide variety of African style like Dombolo, Coupe Decale, Azonto, Afro House, Djazze and Kuduro, the Donga Girls as they are known are living out their passion for the art form.
In an exclusive interview with CGTN, Irina Kitaculo said,
“We are also passionate about this culture, about this music, people. Not only dance. We also make our research all the time, learn whenever we go outside to Europe or Africa – we’ve been there. So we’re trying to travel more & more and look for people who can give us information.”
All three picked up dance, especially in more traditional styles, at an early age, before drifting towards African styles.
They met each other in 2013 and the Donga Girls was formed a year later.
And with the World Cup coming to Russia, the trio especially caught the eye when they threw their support behind two African sides, dancing for Nigeria and Senegal.
“We just decided to support Africa. African countries & culture. If there were more countries like Angola, we’d support them also. It’s about supporting Africa. We’re not football players, frankly speaking, but we support Africa – anywhere, when we can.’’, revealed one of the members Julia Solovyeya
It’s not been an easy journey for the girls. They have had to fight prejudices and cultural appropriation. Getting these music and dance styles to be widely accepted in Russia they say is an uphill task but it is working
With the advent of the internet, the girls are using their burgeoning online platform on sites like YouTube to spread their art beyond just Moscow.
According to Viktoria Karaulshikova one of the Donga project students, says she is proud to belong to the group
“I’m proud to be a Donga Girls student. Because everybody knows Donga Girls are the best in Russia – African dancers. And I’m proud to be their student.”
And as the curtains close on the FIFA world cup 2018, the Donga Girls are hoping to have changed not just the image of African culture in Russia, but also that of outsiders towards Russians themselves.