Byb Chanel Bibene/Kiandanda Dance Theater
About This Artist
bByb Bibene is a dance educator, choreographer and performer working in theater, ethnic, Afro urban, and contemporary dance forms. His own technical and aesthetic sensibility is rooted in the culture and dances of his country of origin, the Republic of Congo. He has toured the world and performed internationally with companies and choreographers originating from Africa, Europe, and the USA.
As a dancer and choreographer, Rashidi Omari is known for his magnetic mashups of traditional dance styles. Performing professionally since 1998, he has danced with DREAM, Avatar Flux, Adia Whittaker Dance Company, Liberation Dance Theater, Joanna Haigood, and Kiandanda Dance Theater among others.
Uzoamaka Nwankpa is a community health registered nurse with a strong passion and belief in the power of music and dance. Uzo is an educator, dance facilitator, entrepreneur, researcher and an advocate for healing through indigenous (cultures) music and dance practices.
Alkebulan Penda Ra has been blessed with learning songs, dances and drum rhythms of West Africa as well as the learning of how to function in a child to the young adult educational environment. Initially, a businessman, his passion for culture and education is now defined. He is a dance instructor, choreographer, co-founder of Malaika Kidogo’s West African Drum and Dance Ensemble (Children Group). He had been an independent performer, consultant to African performing groups and artists while living in Los Angeles, San Diego, Oakland, and Dallas. Founder of Motherland Drummer, Alkebulan is an active member of Diamano Coura West African Dance Ensemble based in Oakland since 1090.
Kemisola (Nkan) started her career in the Nigerian entertainment industry. Her dexterity in singing, acting and dancing is with a great style and uniqueness. She has performed and has been featured as a solo Artiste in different bands all around the Bay Area. Her style of music is stylistically and culturally Afrocentric and cosmopolitan. Nkan recorded an album called “The music of our Ancestor” produced by a London based producer; Kayode Samuel. People who have seen her perform, call her “The Soul of Bay” Nkan is a brand that will definitely sparkle up any event!
Michael French is originally from London. As a boy, he saw the “Cathy Come Home” by Jeremy Sandford on the seminal British television series Play for Today and was transformed. Thirteen years later he formed the Glasshouse Theater Company where he wrote and directed the award-winning play “The Rainy Season” and the much-acclaimed “Bellyache”. He stayed in England writing and directing until his father died and left him a pot of gold with which to see the world.
About this work
[Re]member is a look back to the histories of the African resistance against slavery. The project investigates the history of the rebellions and victories of captured Africans in the slave ships during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and on the Americas and the Caribbean plantations. With a particular focus on the history of one of the maroon’s leaders Nganga Nzumbi, the project strives to celebrate the names of numerous African men and women who led revolts to break out from bondage and form free Black communities. These free communities would allow the preservation of their cultures and identities.
This project attempts to create a bridge connecting Black bodies worldwide to remember their shared history and origins in African. The Black body has not sung enough the stories of their ancestral greatness. [Re]member portrays the restoration of the African pride and the solid connection the Black bodies under the condition to awakening the Black consciousness that defines resilience and freedom.
The dance and music vocabularies are traditional and creative. The body movement draws its energies from the multitude of dances of central Africa’s great Kongo peoples. A visual installation, live and recorded music guide the audience through a voyage in the past, present, and future times of the Black histories, defying all forms of subjugation.
(Pictured in both photos: Byb Byene. Headshot photo by Robbie Sweeny; horizontal photo by Marissa Steffen)