Dance Africa Dance: What I Learned.
A seven day dance festival in Bamako in Mali. When I first heard of it I had to google map it. Now after spending less than a week there the place I found is one of colour, smiles and flavour. It’s the most important dance festival in Africa with hundreds of dancers from all over the continent performing for an international (but mostly French speaking) audience. This is what I learned.
-Silence – there’s no such thing.
It was once a radical move to dance without music – now it’s nothing new. At Dance Africa Dance many of the dances were performed without music – but in Bamako the distant sound of music can always be heard.
-Wigs – men like them apparently.
In at least 5 of the dances I saw, male dancers performed in drag. A secret fetish? Priscilla Queen of the Desert it was not – but fabulous and fun yes.
-Ferocity is the feeling of the moment.
We’ve seen dances of love and dances of seduction many times – the theme here though was fierce and fighting. Men and women battling each other through dance, men and men fighting, and individuals angrily writhing and wriggling alone on stage. It's all about attitude.
-Don’t let there be light.
This year it was all about darkness and shadows. For the audience it was striking and ambient. For our cameraman – it was a nightmare!
As I rushed from performance to performance (just in case they started on time) a local leaned into our car and said ‘Take it easy, life is one, it is not two.’ I liked it so I thought I’d share.
Watch our special show from the festival here.