Among the dance companies participants are:

The film also includes interviews with dance historians Yacouba Konate and Alphonse Tiérou.

COMPAGNIE DANSE NYATA-NYATA, Congo/Canada
“Incantation”, choreographer: Zab Maboungou

Zab Maboungou's contemporary choreography and dance is inspired by the ancestral rhythms and forms of dance of Africa, particularly that of the Congo and Central Africa. Her exploration of the poetics of rhythm has allowed her to express an outlook on "how we stand in this world". Her creations, as well as her teaching, reflect the more than 25 years of her dance experience which has been nurtured and received on four continents (Africa, Europe, North America and Asia). She has produced more than 20 pieces for solos and ensembles, and has been teaching African dance classes, "Rhythms and Movement", on a regular basis for the last seventeen years.

Zab Maboungou grew up in the Congo during a period when the post-colonial revolutionary struggle for independence led to an artistic and cultural revival which placed a strong emphasis on African identity. It was by the early age of 13 that she sensed that this ancient art of dance, in which she had been immersed and culturally imbibed, would constitute a privileged reference point of her identity. After leaving the Congo in 1969, she studied philosophy and joined various African dance troups that were formed at the heart of the African student associations in France, and finally settled in Canada in 1973. She undertook studies in traditional African dance from other countries like Mali, Ivory Coast, Senegambia, Guinea, Nigeria and Zimbabwe while continuing to enlarge her knowledge of the art of music and dance of the Congo. In the early 1980s she joined and worked with various Congolese Ballets in both Europe and America (Fua Dia Kongo in San Francisco, Malaki Ma Kongo in New York, Ballet Lokolé in Paris), and began organizing exchanges with various Congolese artists and dancers, many of whom she would later invite to Canada. She studied and worked in close collaboration with many masters of traditional African music and dance, but was particularly influenced by her meetings with Babatunda Olatunji from Nigeria and Lucky Zebila from the Congo.

Her insight and experience have led her to develop a unique method of teaching African dance based on the Rhythms of Breath that she puts forth in her book Heya! Poetic, Historic and Didactic of African Dance, as well as to publish various articles about African dance and African culture in general. Zab has also been a principal subject of different books and films including Ann Cooper Albright's recently published Choreographing Difference: The Body and Identity in Contemporary Dance and Erica Pomerance's film, Tabala, about the integration of artists of African descent in Montréal.
http://www.nyata-nyata.org/eng/zab.html

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COMPAGNIE VINCENT MANTSOE, South Africa
“Phokwane”, “Mpheyane”, choreographer: Vincent Mantsoe

Vincent Sekwati Koko Mantsoe was born in Johannesburg on 26 April 1971. His mother, aunts and grandmother are all sangomas who instilled in him an appreciation for his culture and a love of ritual singing and dancing. The themes of his creations are firmly rooted in his own cultural and personal experiences. As a teenager in Diepkloof, Vincent learned street dancing a la Michael Jackson and formed a dance group called the Joy Dancers with friends. In 1990 he won a Moving into Dance scholarship, after spotting an advertisement in a newspaper. The disillusioned and aimless schoolboy was suddenly catapulted into the world of dance where he studied Afrofusion under Sylvia Glasser, Contemporary Dance and Creative Movement under Bev Elgie and Jazz with Nadine Benger. In 1991 he debuted at the Wits Theatre with Glasser's Tranceformations based on Bushman trance-dance. His phenomenal talent soon saw him touring with MID to Spain, where he made his overseas debut in 1992. Since then he has performed and presented workshops in numerous countries, including Australia, France, Germany, Japan, America, Sweden and the Netherlands. In 1999 Mantsoe spent a month in Japan for a cultural collaboration with Michel Kelemenis and Takeshi Yazaki, the result of which is Traduction Simultanee performed in 2000 at Dance Umbrella in Johannesburg, in France and in Tunisia. He created a new solo BARENA for Dance Umbrella 2000 in Johannesburg and was commissioned by FNB Vita to create a new solo, MOTSWA HOLE, for Dance Umbrella 2001.

In "Mphenyane" he portrays a man who has lost touch with his ancestors and finds himself in constant conflict with himself and other cultures. There is a final realization that an assimilation and appreciation of different cultures will lead to personal enrichment but only if the link to one's heritage is known and restored. "Phokwane" (a combination of his parents' traditional names, Phoko and Nkwane) is a tribute to his parents and reflects all the members of his family at different stages in their lives.

This philosophy of bringing the cultures together in my work is to provide information that is simple yet important and never to forget it. If we work hard towards having the Respect, Understanding, Commitment, Knowledge of others and being passionate and positive about what we want to achieve in our lives great things will happen to all of us.Vincent Mantsoe http://www.sekwaman.co.za/

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COMPAGNIE CIE SALIA NÏ SEYDOU, Burkina Faso
“Figninto”, choreographers: Salia Sanou & Seydou Boro

Salia Sanou
Born in Léguéma in Burkina Faso, he studied dramatic art at the theatre school of the international union for drama groups in Ouagadougou. He was schooled in African dance by Drissa Sanon (Ballet Koulédafrou of Bobo-Dioulasso), Alasane Congo (Maison des jeunes et de la culture of Ouagadougou), Irène Tassembedo (Compagnie Ebène) and Germaine Acogny (Ballet du 3e Monde). He joined the Mathilde Monnier company in 1992 where he took part in different creations, Pour Antigone, Nuit, Arrêtez, arrêtons, arrête, Les lieux de là. He choreographied L'héritage (first prize in performing arts at the Semaine Nationale de la Culture in Burkina Faso), and the Century of fools assisted by Seydou Boro (also winner of the First Prize at the Concours de Danse Contemporaine Africaine d'Afrique en Créations). Together they founded the company Salia N ï Seydou. They were prize winners at the Second choreographic meetings of African creations in Luanda (April 1998) with Figninto (The Torn Eye) choreographed by Seydou Boro (September 1997) and the "découverte" prize for RFI, 19s98 (Radio France International). He choreographed with Seydou Boro Taagalà (The Traveller), which was created in June, 27.28, within the framework of the Montpellier Festival Dance International 2000. This work brings together four and two musicians.
In 2001, he choreographed KUPUPURA, for the Tumbuka dance Company from the National Ballet of Mozambique. Since 2000, Salia Sanou is the Artistic Director of the International Contemporary Dance Meeting from Africa and Indian ocean.

Seydou Boro
Born in Ouagadougou, in Burkina Faso, he studied from 1990 with the theatrical company Feeren. As an actor, he had roles in Marafootage by Amadou Bourou (1991, First International Theatre Festival of Bénin), then in Œudipe-Roi de Sophocle (stage managed by Eric Podor) ; in cinema, a role in the film by Dani Kouyaté, L'héritage du griot (shortlisted at the pan-African cinema festival of Ouagadougou), in a Franco-Greek film by Fotini, Papadodyma, and with Eric Cloué Le royaume du passage (France- Zimbabwe). He joined the Mathilde Monnier company in 1992 where he took part in different creations, Pour Antigone, Nuit, Arrêtez, arrêtons, arrête, Les lieux de là. Author, he wrote a story for the company Cry d'Err in 1995, played by the pupils of the Ulysses college. He assisted Salia Sanou in the choreography of the Century of fools (1996), which won first prize at the Concours de Danse Contemporaine Africaine d'Afrique en Créations. Together they founded the company Salia N ï Seydou. They were prize winners at the Second Choreographic meetings of African creations in Luanda (April 1998) with Figninto (The Torn Eye), which he choreographed assisted by Salia Sanou (September 1997) and the "découverte" prize for RFI. 1998 (Radio France International). He assisted Salia Sanou on the piece Taagalà, (The Traveller), which was created in June, 27-28, within the framework of the Montpellier Festival Dance International 2000. This work brings together four and two musicians. Seydou Boro is also author and director of documentary films about african creative dance, La rencontre (52mn - 2000), La Danseuse d'ébène (57mn - 2002).

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COMPAGNIE SYLVAIN ZABLI, Ivory Coast
“Héritage”, choreographer: Sylvain Zabli

Sylvain Zabli was born in Dobrepa, Ivory Coast. Like many of his generation he got his start in dance through the Varietoscope competition, which he won in 1988 with Fambol de Katiola. Following this success he joined the Kotéba Ensemble of Abidjan, directed by Souleymane Koly. From 1988 to 1998, with Kotéba and later the Jeune Ballet d’Afrique Noire (JBAN), Zabli not only learned dance in all it’s forms, but also added theatre to his repertory. In November 1998, with the support of the Programme de Soutien aux Initiatives Culturelles et d’Action Décentralisées PSIC and the Centre Culturel Français in Abidjan, Sylvain Zabli formed his own company for the creation of a piece for seven dancers and one musician, Heritage. The immense success of this work has allowed the company to take on new projects.

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COMPAGNIE TCHÉTCHÉ, Ivory Coast
“Dimi”, choreographer: Béatrice Kombé Gnapa

Tchétché means "eagle" in Bete, one of the languages of the Ivory Coast. Fittingly, the African dance troupe has chosen the eagle as its symbol because the dancers aim to fly far above notions of dance that are considered feminine. Through strong, sensual movement, the dancers want to show their audiences that women are not the weaker gender. Tchétché was founded in 1997 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Its mission is to participate in the renewal of African choreography, including traditions such as the Temate of Facobly, which is an homage to the spirits for an abundant rice harvest, the dance of the waders of Gouessesso and Danane, and finally, the Gouah dance, a collective gesture of young people addressed to the beneficial gods. Tchétché has appeared all over the world, including festivals in Montreal, Belgium, Germany and Jordan. Among the awards the company has received are the 1999 UNESCO Award at the African Market of the Arts and Spectacles in Abidjan and second place in the 1999 African Choreographic Meeting in Madagascar. http://tchetche.afrikart.net/compagnie.htm

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COMPANHIA CLARA ANDERMATT, Cape Verde/Portugal
“A Story of Doubt”, choreographer: Clara Andermatt

In 1991, Clara Andermatt founded her own Dance Company, a creative core notable for the quality and consistency of the individual contributions, at the heart of which the choreography has developed a radical, emotive and very personal discourse, in line with new tendencies of contemporary dance. In its most recent works, ACCCA has incorporated the sharing of learning and experience emanating from different cultures and traditions, unafraid of intellectual and popular expression. Despite being young, the company has already made itself known inducing favorable reaction abroad. Holland, Germany, Belgium, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Canada, Spain and the United States are amongst the many stages where its work has been applauded. http://novascenas.pt/andermatt/

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COMPAGNIE MATHILDE MONNIER, France/Burkina Faso/Mali
“Pour Antigone”, choreographer: Mathilde Monnier

After studying psychology, Mathilde Monnier began dancing under the direction of Viola Farber (a Merce Cunningham alumnus) at the CNDC in Angers. It was there that she realized with certainty that total freedom can only be achieved by working relentlessly. After having worked on her own for a few years, Mathilde Monnier was appointed director of the Centre Chorégraphique National de Montpellier Languedoc-Rousillon, in 1993. Among her more memorable works are Chinoiserie (1991), in which her movement style attained a striking lyrical abstraction, Pour Antigone (1993), Nuit (1994), L'atelier en pièces (1996), Arrêtez, Arrêtons, Arrête (1997), and the intense Potlatch Dérives which she created and mounted within the 2000 edition of the Festival Montpellier Danse. During this event, which lasted several days, Monnier had invited over 20 creators from all fields who gave freely of their time to present their works or experiences in various areas of the Centre Chorégraphique. In 2001, Mathilde Monnier created the diptyque Signé,Signés based on the work of Merce Cunningham and John Cage. Among other recent works are Natt & Rose for the Royal Swedish Ballet presented at the Montpellier Dance Festival in 2001, and Multimaterials (2002) with the dancers of the Centre Chorégraphique. In 2002, together with the philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy, Mathilde Monnier presented at Allitérations, a dance conference - a part of the Agora Festival (Centre George Pompidou, Paris). At the same time, Mathilde Monnier worked on three films Chinoiseries, Bruit blanc by Valérie Urréa and E pour eux by Karim Zeriahen. Among her publications are two books - Dehors la danse (a collaboration with Jean-Luc Nancy) and MW (a collaboration with the photographer Isabelle Waternaux and writer Dominique Fourcade). http://www.mathildemonnier.com/fr2/home_index.asp

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COMPAGNIE JANT-BI, Senegal/Germany
“Le Coq est Mort”, choreographers: Susanne Linke and Avi Kaiser,
artistic director: Germaine Acogny

Susanne Linke, who grew up in Berlin and lived in Essen for over twenty years before moving to Bremen in 1994, unites in her dance both hero rigions in the historic German dance tradition and the development of contemporary German dance theatre. She studied first in Berlin under the virtuoso of German dance, Mary Wigman, then went to Essen and continued her training at the Folkwang School’s dance department, which was founded by Kurt Joos. From 1970 – 1973 she was a dancer at the Folkwang Dance Studio under the artistic direction of Pina Bausch and she began to create her own choreographic pieces at this time. Within a few years she had gained widespread international recognition with her solos and group dances, received several awards and gave guest performances all over Europe as well as in India and South and North America. Together with her partner, Urs Dietrich as co-director, she started to build up a new company at the Bremer Theater in 1994.

Germaine Acogny
, of Senegalese and French nationality, was artistic director until 1982 of Mudra Afrique, a dance center created by Maurice Béjart in Dakar. After Mudra Afrique closed, she worked in Brussels with Maurice Béjart and organized international training sessions in African dance, which were highly acclaimed among European audiences. She travels around the world to teach, perform, and choreograph and is a true emissary of African dance and culture. With her husband Helmut Vogt, she created in Toulouse the "Studio-Ecole-Ballet-Theatre of the Third World". The objectives of the school were to serve as a meeting place for Africans and Europeans in the practice of dance and music. In 1995, she returned to Senegal to build the International Centre for Traditional and Contemporary African Dances, a place of training, cultural and choreographic meetings and exchanges between Africa, its Diaspora and the rest of the world. Between 1997 and 2000, Ms. Acogny was artistic director of the dance section of Afrique en Creations/AFAA (French Association for Artistic Action) and the Contemporary African Dance Competition. Ms. Acogny is currently working on two exciting projects. The first, a solo work entitled, Tchouraï conceived and danced by Germaine Acogny with choreography by Sophiatou Kossoko (Benin), text by writer and poet Xavier Orville (Martinique) and music by composer Etienne Schwarcz (France). The second project, The Human Tragedy of Genocide: Rwanda-and tomorrow? (working title), is a collaboration between Germaine Acogny and Japanese choreographer, Kota Yamasaki. The project is the second choreographic project of The Company Jant-Bi, a dance company that grew out of Ms. Acogny's International Center for Traditional and Contemporary African Dances. http://www.artsinternational.org/archive/apap_gallery/acogny/Acogny_Frameset.htm

A celebrated performer, Avi Kaiser was a dancer with the Batsheva Company where he worked with many choreographers including Glen Tetley and Kurt Joos. Residing in his adopted home of Germany for numerous years, he has participated since 1991 in the creations of choreographer Suzanne Linke as well as collaborated with the Bremen Tanz Theater. Avi Kaiser is frequently invited to work as a guest teacher, notably for the Rotterdam Dansacademie, the University of Cologne, the Centre National de Danse Contemporaine (CNDC) in Angers, France and the Belgian company Ultima Vez. Coming from the tradition of dance/theater, Avi Kaiser is following a continuing process - undertaken in Israel, Germany, Belgium, Poland and Senegal - that is inspired by the vital forces and folklore elements of the places he is traveling through as well as the people with whom he is invited to create.

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Yakouba Konate
philosopher, writer, scholar, art critic and curator (Ivory Coast)

Born in 1953 in Ivory Coast, Yacouba Konate is a professor of Philosophy at the University of Concody in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. He has been part of the EU expert team on cultural development since 1997. In 2000, Professor Konate served as a Director of the National Institute of Arts and Culture and as a Director of the Cabinet of Ministers of Culture and Francophony. He is a writer, scholar, art critic, and curator of numerous exhibitions around the world. Among the countries he has been working in are South Africa, Burkina Faso, Benin, Cameroon, Egypt, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Senegal, Togo, Zimbabwe, France, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Slovenia, Croatia, Poland, Italy, Spain, USA, Canada, Brazil, Cuba and India.

Among Professor Konate’s publications related to African Dance are “African artist or artist African: Contemporary African Art and New Identities” (2002, 57th Biennale of Contemporary Art in Dakar), “When world wakes up to African Dance: Aesthetic aspects and perspectives of new African Dance in Ivory Coast” (1999, Festival of New Dance in Montreal); “The shapes and colors of Africa” (1998, Tobu Museum of Art, USA); “Africa in the mirror of art” (1999, Atlantic Museum of Modern Art, Las Palmas, Spain); “Contemporary African Art: a plastic memoir” (1997, Biennale of Havana, Cuba); “African Ballets of Keita Fodéba” (1995, National Congress of Mande Studies Association, Ivory Coast) and many others.

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Alphonse Tiérou writer, choreographer, African Dance researcher and historian (Ivory Coast)

Born in Ivory Coast, Alphonse Tiérou was raised in the environment of grand traditional masters and holy dignitaries. He is coming from “Grande families” - heirs of the West African masks of wisdom. He is a son of Dji Pascal, a famous headman of the ancient circle of Man that succeeded Zoué Pierre and reigned around the entire region of Dabou between 1960-1991.

Before entering the National Institute of Arts in Abidjan, since early age, Alphonse
Tiérou studied Temoa and Tê (African dialectics and rhetoric) with the head of the canton To Guei and grand traditional masters and orators such as Jean Babia – who reigned in the Ivorian capital for more than 40 years, Gbela Bla,Yéhoué Bernard, and Gué Gaspard.

He is the creator of the first notation system of the traditional African dance vocabulary and gestures (1983). Between 1988 and 1996, he was a consultant for UNSECO’s Research on African Dance. In 1989-1990, he taught “African Dance and Therapy” in the Specialized Center at the Hospital of Montfavet in Avignon (France). Between 1993-1996, Alphonse Tiérou taught traditional and contemporary African Dance to African dancers and choreographers in the following countries: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Conakry, Central Africa, Gabon, Tunisia, Kenya, Madagascar, South Africa, Mali, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Island of Reunion. He is the founder and director of the Research and Resource Center of African Creations (Paris, 1997), the First Summer University of African Dance and Drumming (Plouha in France, 1999), Pan-African Federation of African Arts (Paris, 2001) – whose objective is to establish an African-European diploma of Contemporary African Dance in collaboration with African and European Institutions. In 2001, Alphonse Tiérou sponsored meetings of Living African Arts - AFRICA TONIK in Charente and Charente- Maritime (France). He is the author of many books, articles and conference publications on African Dance and Culture including “Dooplé, Eternal Law of African Dance” (1998), “If its dance moves, Africa will move” (2001). He is the conceptualizer, author and organizer of the class “Poetry of African Dance” as well as of a number of exhibitions including “African Masks” (led by Léopold Sedar) in Nîmes (France) in 1986; “Dooplé, Grand African Dance, its laws and techniques” (for UNESCO, Paris, 1992); “From Dance to Sculpture. Another look at African Aesthetics” (Museum of Man, Paris, 2000 and Saint Martin Museum, Ré, France, 2002); “Between Dance and Sculpture. Another look at African Aesthetics” (Museum of Cognac, France, 2001). http://www.tierou-doople.com/

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