Following their successful symposium and meeting in LA, Africa Consortium members, among them Cathy Zimmerman (MAPP International’s Executive Producer) and Philip Bither (Walker Art Center’s Senior Curator), visit San Luis in Senegal for the Duo-Solo Dance Festival. From June 3rd to 7th, 2015, Duo Solo Dance, an annual international festival of contemporary dance is held, offering a platform to discover choreographers and emerging artists from across the region: Senegal, but also Mali, Chad, Benin, Ivory Coast and Mauritania.
One of the purposes in attended the festival was to see work by the next generation of contemporary African dance artists. Some of the performances included work by Rachelle Agboussou /Benin; Momar Ndiaye/Senegal/RDC; Pape-Fall/Mauritania; Alioune Diagne/ Senegal; and Kaisha Essiane/Gabon. Many of the choreographers on the program have been mentored by TACAC artists Faustin, Andreya Ouamba and Panaibra through their Pamoja Project.
“This mini festival represents a revised strategy of Danse l’Afrique Danse to dispense with a bi-annual large festival /competition with artists curated mostly by Institut Francais and their European counterparts. Taking advice from African artists, they have discontinued the competition and are supporting regional mini dance platforms organized by local artists and organizations on the ground. They will present the “culminating” festival in Ouagadougou in December 2016.
This series was organized by Association Diagn’ Art run by choreographer and resident of Saint Louis, Alioune Diagne and his wife and manager Maaike Cotterink. What struck me as most remarkable was the buy-in from the local community. All performances, including the work-in-progress performances, were attended by young people (ages 12-22), families including the very old and infants; and other local and European residents. Showings took place for two hours in the afternoon from 4-6 during which emerging artists who were in residency and being mentored by Andreya and Salia, performed their work. The evening performances of full length work (three or four each night) started at 8:30pm and usually ended between 11pm and midnight. Afterwards, most artists gathered at the central meeting place which was a large boat/barge where some of the artists were housed and where all meals were served. Everyday there were meet- the-artist sessions where one selected artist would speak about their work, answer questions and debate the content. These were all in French so I couldn’t participate in the conversation.” - Cathy Zimmerman
Cathy also met with multiple friends and colleagues to discuss future plans for TACAC. Among them were Virginie Dupray to plan for future projects and exchanges with Faustin/Studios Kabako and to discuss TACAC’s planning for 2016 activities in Africa. In addition, Cathy met with Germaine Acogny, Helmut and Andreya Ouamba to continue the discussion about a possible gathering at Ecole des Sables and Dakar.
Cathy and Philip also saw, dancer-choreographer, Nora Chipaurmire’s latest iteration of “Portrait of Myself as my Father,” which celebrates and critiques masculinity (its presence, presentation, and representation). Performed by Nora, herself, and Senegalese dancer Ibrahima Ndiaye (aka “Kaolack”). The work will be touring in the U.S. in 2016-17.
Photos taken by TACAC member Cathy Zimmerman
Photos of Nora’s work taken at Duo-Solo by Elise Fitte-Duval below
Stay tuned for more exciting updates on TACAC!!