Robert Ssempijja is a diverse emerging Ugandan contemporary dance artist and dance researcher who is having a career both through formal and informal dance setting experiences.
He has always been a mover but didn’t discover dance until he was 12 and got the opportunity to be in a dance group at school. At that time he was going through a rough time in life so the dance at school was to become his safe haven and it was the dance that inspired him to continue going. It became a way for him to express what he saw and felt about the world around him. Today he’s grateful for the opportunity given to him through his school and therefore he aims to share the knowledge he collects with others. This creates opportunities for people younger (both in age and experience) than him that are going through rough times as well.
In his art, he uses a combination of Ugandan traditional dance, breakdance and techniques of contemporary dance to get those interesting creations of art. He is schooled in techniques from Burkina Faso and has recently completed his diploma in dance at Ecolé des Sables in Senegal. Back home in Uganda, he shares his knowledge in dance in the professional dance community, but he is also a part of developing contemporary dance in Uganda. This he mostly does through voluntary work with dance practice for kids in Uganda, lessons for other professionals and as well as setting up a platform for emerging dancers within East Africa called Dance Revolution East Africa (DREA).
He has travelled to the United States of America to fundraise for an organisation he co-founded called Guijja Thing African Art. During his stay in the States, he also performed with his newest solo called “You Judge”, which is still a working progress and was created, choreographed and performed by Ssempijja at Ecolé des Sables. The school choose the solo and four of his other pieces to represent the school in its final show for the public. Now his aim is to be able to develop his career as an emerging dance artist through collaborations with others and to keep learning. He would like to have the opportunity to meet with different dancers and choreographers from the world to develop his skills and talent. In his work, he aims to spread the knowledge further, which means that when he comes back to Uganda after a workshop, travel or learning experience he set up different ways to share those skills with the growing contemporary dance community back in Uganda.
Ssempijja believes that we need art in the society to be able to develop towards a world with less war, less poverty, less mental illnesses and for human rights to be followed in a wider spectrum. He thinks we can create understanding with art, and that understanding will lead to change.