Paperwork mix-up at airport delays Ugandan dancers

Performance postponed at Apple Valley’s Heartbeat Studios

A scheduled performance by Uganda’s Kika Troupe at Heartbeat Studios in Apple Valley this weekend has been postponed owing to a paperwork mix-up that prevented the dancers from boarding their plane to the United States.

The Kika Troupe hopes to reschedule many of its Minnesota performances, including its show at Heartbeat Studios, after issues regarding the dancers’ paperwork needed to enter the United States get sorted out. (Photo submitted)

The Kika Troupe hopes to reschedule many of its Minnesota performances, including its show at Heartbeat Studios, after issues regarding the dancers’ paperwork needed to enter the United States get sorted out. (Photo submitted)

“The troupe was at the airport ready to depart and they were stopped because the U.S. Embassy noticed a mistake on the paperwork necessary to enter the U.S.,” explained Heartbeat Studios director Deborah Lysholm.

“It literally was like an ‘i’ not dotted or a ‘t’ not crossed,” she said.

The Kika Troupe had scheduled a 1 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19, performance at Heartbeat as the opening event in its first tour of the United States. Additional performances had been planned at area schools and arts venues Jan. 19-27, as well as at the Mall of America and the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport on Jan. 23 as part of Martin Luther King/Nelson Mandela tributes.

The 20-some Kika Troupe dancers and musicians based in the Ugandan capital city of Kampala were devastated by the unexpected delay at the airport. As Kika Troupe director Kaddu Yusuf broke the news to Lysholm in a conference call from the Ugandan airport, “I could hear some of the dancers sobbing in the background,” Lysholm said.

The troupe hopes to reschedule many of its Minnesota performances, including its show at Heartbeat, once the paperwork issues get sorted out.

“Sen. Al Franken is getting involved to help with the situation, but it will take about two weeks to get the documents corrected,” Lysholm said. “They’re still coming – it’s just delayed. They are determined to make it work.”

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