During our final week of learning contemporary dance with Papa Sy, our teens had the honor of meeting the legendary Malang Bayo, master dancer, choreographer and former member of the National Ballet of Senegal. After greeting Mr. Bayo and learning about his recent visit to Senegal our teens sat down with him for a 30-minute interview.
During the interview our teens learned about Mr. Bayo’s exciting career. Malang Bayo is a very accomplished artist. His entire career has been devoted to teaching the art of African song and dance. He is well versed in the folklore and dance of the Wolof, Mandinka, Djola, and Bambara people of Senegal. His own performance company, Mussukeba Sane West African Ballet was founded in 1992. They have performed lectures and demonstrations for schools and colleges throughout the country. In addition to this Malang Bayo has also provided choreography for several dance companies, including Silimbo D’Adeane West African Dance company in Boston, Maimouna Keita School of African Dance in New York, and Teye’ Sa Thiossanne African Dance Company in San Diego.
Photograph of Malang Bayo during the interview.
Thanks to our recent partnership with Cumbe, our teens had the opportunity to interview and dance with the renowned Senegalese dancer, Marie Basse-Wiles. Marie Basse-Wiles was born in Dakar, Senegal, West Africa and is the granddaughter of Bambara singer and dancer Maimouna Keita. She began her professional career at the age of 9, and began teaching at the age of 12 as a member of the Ballet National of Senegal. Throughout her career, Mrs. Basse-Wiles won numerous awards for her commitment to the community and her accomplishments in dance. She has also created numerous ballets, including a piece for The Center For Traditional Music and Dance “Bedenya 97” Festival that is archived at the New York Public Library’s Performing Arts Library.
NSBD teens dancing with Marie Basse-Wiles at Cumbe.
NSBD teens interviewing Marie Basse-Wiles at Cumbe.
We’r so excited to be working with the Cumbe Center for African and Diaspora Dance in Brooklyn. Barely over a year old, Cumbe has exploded as a destination for those wanted to participate in the arts and culture of the diaspora. When we met with Jimena Martinez, Cumbe’s co-director, it was evident that both of our institutions had quite a bit to offer one another.
So what will our partnership look like?
First, in order for our students to learn even more about Senegalese culture. they will be participating in Senegalese dance and percussion workshops. In addition, Cumbe is assisting in our securing interviews with Senegalese artists and activists within the Brooklyn community and, lastly , Cumbe will be one of the locations where we screen the film and have an roundtable discussion with the public at the end of the project.
We’re so excited for this multi-layered partnership that allows us to have another layer of community engagement and cultural immersion for our youth. Stay tuned for photos and updates!