Mitzi in Mali & Guinea 2016

This year I managed to get back to Africa! It has been 8 years since I have had that opportunity. It was so good to breathe African air and experience the intensity of the people. I have come back more inspired than ever, ready to share some new styles.

The first week was spent in Bamako, Mali, training with Bassidi Koné and members of Bwazan. Malian dance has a delicate beauty and grace, while the rhythms are complex, and sometimes difficult to understand. This was a satisfying challenge (in need of plenty more work…!)

Following that, we flew to Conakry, Guinea where we resided with Mohamed Bangoura ‘Bangouraké’ in Lansanayah. His unfinished house was like a concrete palace complete with 3 stories (and unfenced balconies!), and a view of salt-water estuaries, mangroves and 2-o’clock crabs. The little boys taught us Soussou and put crabs down each others’ pants.

I learnt with a range of dancers from Ballet Mattam and Ballet Merveilles, deeping my understanding of many familiar rhythms. I had the opportunity to join in the warm-up with Ballet Mattam, attend dundunba street parties and attend some spectacular performances.

We returned to Bamako to fly out, staying at The Sleeping Camel. Here, we met UN and military forces involved in the conflict in the North. We’re all praying for resolution of this nasty conflict which is affecting tourism and employment opportunities for the talented musicians and dancers all over West Africa.

Thank you to all my teachers and all the warm-hearted beautiful people of Guinea and Mali.

Africa, Guinea, Mali

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