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DRUMS & DANCE 2024

OUR GUEST TEACHERS

Kiazi MALONGA

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Kiazi Malonga is a second-generation American of Congolese origin, born into a family of artists. He was introduced to the Ngoma drum at the age of two by his father, Malonga Casquelourd, a world-renowned traditional drummer, dancer and choreographer from Congo Brazzaville who settled in the USA in 1972.


It was within this setting that Kiazi Malonga was trained and learned about his Congolese cultural heritage. At the age of 16, he became the lead drummer for his father's dance company, Fua Dia Congo, and also began teaching at this time. He currently teaches traditional Congolese music in Oakland, California. Kiazi has performed in the United States, Canada, Costa Rica, Europe and Africa. Following up on his highly acclaimed debut album, this artist just released his second album, Zu Dia Ngoma, in March 2024. His new musical work includes previously unrecorded compositions by the late Malonga Casquelourd, his father, as well as new compositions.

 

Kiazi also holds a master's degree in International Affairs and Natural Resources, and founded Pelisa Energy to promote and contribute to sustainable development.

Gervais TOMADIATUNGA

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A Franco-Congolese artist, Gervais Tomadiatunga began his career in dance and theatre at the Congolese Ballet National and Théâtre National. Guided by a spirit of discovery, he explores traditional dances, as well as the phenomenon of trance.

 

In 2008, he was invited to join Florent Mahoukou's Compagnie Studio Mahoo. Together they created On The Steps, which was awarded 1st prize at the Rencontres chorégraphiques, Danse l’Afrique danse in Bamako. Gervais developed his art with the dance company Tumamana, which he founded in Congo and which later became Danseincolore after he settled in France.

 

As a dancer and choreographer he is committed to dance that is both engaged and free, able to bear witness and raise awareness while instilling hope. His impactful choreographies, including the most recent, Mboka Mboka, have brought him to various contemporary stages in Africa, Europe and the USA. Just back from Mboka Mboka's African tour, Gervais is currently helping to set up a dance training centre in his native Congo Brazzaville.

 

Zora SNAKE

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Dancer – Choreographer and Performance Art Researcher of Cameroonian origin, Tejeutsa Zobel Raoul, aka Zora Snake, was born in 1990 in his native village of Bamendou. Regarded as one of the most promising artists on today's contemporary scene in Africa and Europe, in 2013 he founded the Compagnie Zora Snake and later the international Modaperf festival (MOvements, DAnces and PERFormances of Cameroon). 

With a background in urban / hip-hop and traditional dance, Zora Snake has distinguished himself as a soloist and performer. Inspired by the myth of sacred animals in the Bamiléké tradition, his aesthetic draws inspiration globally, expressing "the political" or "dancing to box with the situation, to fight and to shift mentalities."

He is the author of several African dance and performance creations and is the winner of the 2016-2017 Visas pour la création program of the Institut Français in Paris, of the 1st prize, Acogny D'or, at the choreographic competition Africa Simply the Best in Bobo Dioulasso (Burkina-Faso), and was named Best dance and performance artist of the year, at the Golden Artistic Awards in Brussels, among other awards.

His collective, Compagnie Zora Snake, organizes the annual international MODAPERF festival in the streets of Douala, Yaoundé and Dschang in Cameroon.

Zab MABOUNGOU

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Born in Paris and raised im Congo-Brazzaville, Zab Maboungou discovered the power of dance at an early age. She later studied philosophy in France, a subject she taught, while also teaching dance in Montreal, where she chose to settle. In 1987, she founded ZAB MABOUNGOU/COMPAGNIE DANSE NYATA-NYATA (1987), as well as a professional dance training program, the PEFAPDA (2003) and developed the LO.KE.TO, a methodological study of rhythmic alignment.

As early as 1994, her experience, expertise and outlook on arts and culture made her an artistic advisor appointed by the Ivorian Ministry of Culture to MASA (Marché des arts vivants de la scène d’Abidjan), a festival promoting the performing arts in Africa and in the world, where she was honoured 15 years later as part of “Femme Danse” (“Woman of Dance”, 2020). Zab Maboungou has received numerous awards and honours, in Africa and in the Americas, as well as in Canada, some of the highest ones in this country, as a Dance Pioneer (Dance Immersion, 1997) and the Governor’s General Award for the Performing Arts (2021).
She is a sought after presence on stages, at festivals and for symposia. Her choreographies , noted for their power, unite the mental ,and the physical spheres, and exude a spiritual strengh revealed through a rhythm art.
She is a force to be reckoned with regarding the art of dance and the aesthetics of resistance in our contemporary world.

In january 2024, her company acquired a new venue for its artistic practise, the CENTRE CREATION DANSE NYATA-NYATA.

“Bodies have their own, unique and incommensurable life. Dance is their living testimony”

OUR ACCOMPANYING ARTISTS

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Elli Miller-Maboungou

Born into an artistic family, Elli learned to beat a drum before he could walk, at the Centre Création Danse Nyata Nyata, where he grew up. This informed his earliest memories, which involved working with some of the great master drummers, alongside whom he refined his style and stroke. Elli has previously taken part in several shows and led percussion workshops at the Centre and on tour. Founder of the group Jazzamboka and recipient of the Montréal Jazz Festival Composition Award, he also performs regularly with Compagnie Zab Maboungou | Compagnie Danse Nyata Nyata.

Ferdinand Batantou

Master drummer of Congolese origin, Ferdinand Batantou was percussionist of the National Ballet of Congo. He has since participated in several festivals all over the world. 
In France, he is a distinguished accompanist for African dance classes.
Visiting professor at the University of Michigan, he has participated since 1995 in the Congolese Camp in California and Hawaii, in the United States. His talent as an arranger has earned him a hand in several large-scale projects, including one with Doudou N'Diaye Rose, an internationally renowned drummer from Senegal.

A musician of Mexican origin specializing in the study of West African music, he
began his musical studies at the age of 15 at the Superior School of Music in the city of
Mexico City, Mexico. While continuing his training in different institutions including Fermatta (private music school, Mexico City) and CIEM (Center for Musical Investigation and Studies), he obtained a diploma from TRYNITY University in London in musical theory. His interest in percussions and African-influenced music led him to independent research during which he took courses, workshops and training courses. He undertook numerous trips to countries such as Guinea, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Brazil and Cuba before specializing in African and Afro-Latin percussion.
He regurlarly participates in various musical and artistic projects where awareness and artistic quality are highlighted. He is part of Zab Maboungou | Compagnie Danse Nyata since 2015.

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Bruno Martinez
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