Souleymane Badolo at The Emelin Theater March 3, 2017

Souleymane Badolo in YIMBEGRE. Photo by Stephanie Berger

Year: 2016-2017
DanceForce Member: Ivan Sygoda
Artists: Souleymane Badolo, Mamadou Konate
Community Partners: Emelin Theater, Mamaroneck NY
Audience: 250
County: Westchester

Choreographer-performer Souleymane Badolo presented a distillation of “Yimbegre” (“beginning” or “roots”), a duet with composer-drummer Mamadou Konate that had premiered in a slightly larger version at the BAM Next Wave festival the previous Autumn. The context was one third of a shared “Dance off the Grid” program curated by Andrea Snyder for the Emelin’s 275 seat proscenium theater. Sharing the program with Solo were Rashaun Mitchell/Silas Reiner and the Pascal Rioult company.

This rather abstract work held its own in the eclectic company of its programmatic neighbors. The charismatic physicality of the two performers captivated the audience, but the aura of homoeroticism might have presented a challenge to some patrons. Andrea Snyder reported that one disgruntled patron muttered something disparaging as she left, but other than that, response was positive. Solo himself is not gay, but he was making a case for a less binary paradigm of human emotion than pertains in his native Burkina Faso.

Andrea Snyder to Souleymane: “Solo, I meant to send Mamadou and you a thank you immediately after Friday’s wonderful performance. The opening evening of this season’s Dance Off The Grid was a terrific hit, in great part because of the strong and meaningful performance of excerpts from Yimbégré you gave. We very much appreciated Mamadou’s and your participation on the Q&A, too. Amy, thank you very much for guiding all of us through the process to make sure Solo could be included. Ivan, thank you for the commitment you made to assist. It was a win-win for everyone, the audience included.”