Traditional Dances and Rhythms of Guinea

Year: 2021-2022
DanceForce Member: Jacquie Davis
Artists: Mouminatu Camara, Yousouf Koumbassa
Community Partners: The College at Brockport; Garth Fagan Dance; University of Rochester
Audience: 1,000
County: Monroe

Western New York has a well established community of African Diaspora based dancers and musicians. This project focuses specifically on traditional dances and rhythms of Guinea. In addition to many introductory sessions, the more experienced participants will have an opportunity for intensive advanced study. The project offers an immersion experience into cultures of Guinea, with opportunity to study with master teachers. It will provide an opportunity for advanced dancers to learn in greater depth and refine their performance skills. Others may address the challenges of choreography using traditional dance material.

In late fall 2021, Guest Artist #1 will visit for two days for an introduction to dances from Guinea and to lay groundwork for the spring residencies.

In February-March 2022, Guest Artist #2 will be in residence for two weeks of extensive teaching both in the community and on the SUNY Brockport campus.

Guest Artist #1 will return, with some days overlapping with #2, and remain another week to stage material taught during the residency. The work will be performed later by SUNY Brockport’s Sankofa Dance and Drum Ensemble and by community members who may have expressed interest in the work.

Mr. Mohamed Diaby, a master artist himself, is on the Brockport faculty and able to contribute musically to the work of the guests. Without him, project costs would be significantly higher. The entire project was developed over months of planning with Ms. Jenise Anthony, also on the faculty and Director of the Sankofa African Dance and Drum Ensemble.

Garth Fagan Dance and several colleges have already expressed interest in participating and there are established groups in Rochester and Buffalo who will be invited to attend. Though it’s hoped that they will take advantage of weekend scheduling, the length of total residency time makes it possible for some community activities to occur off campus.