Siaka Coulibaly | Soubwéré

A site-specific performance

performance solo, dance

Duration: approx. 20 minutes

Suitable to all audiences. Site-specific, open air.

Siaka Coulibaly, dancer-choreographer, is originally from Burkina Faso. He lives in Montpellier.

For Siaka, everything has always been dance: working in the fields with his parents and the movement, the rhythm of the work of the earth; the ceremonies.

Conceiving dance as a profession was simply inconceivable in his rural environment. Thus, he was first trained as a mason, in the traditional Nubian vaulting technique.

Also here, for him, movement is not just something trivial: the rhythm of the feet working the earth to make the bricks is musical. The gestures of the hands erecting the walls, then the magic of the vault, are the fruit of conscious coordination like dance, a choreography.

In his solo performance Soubwéré, Siaka Coulibaly weaves links between his experiences. In this work, he explores the notions of earth and water, of clay, deeply linked to construction, of what can shelter and separate.

Water, a sacred element – worn on the head using a soubwéré, a sort of fabric ring which is in itself a sacred element for women – is a source of life and a component of our organisms as well as of construction. .

The soubwéré represents a link, a binder just like clay, a joint, which allows mobility and movement. Essential notions for global cohesion, whether societal, emotional, environmental. Bridges and passages allowing people to escape confinement.

This solo is also an outlet for the choreographer.

Through this performance, he conveys his personal narrative, his journey of self-transformation while retaining a connection to his earthly origins

He brings forth poignant moments, scars etched into his body and soul, instances of uncertainty and obscurity where he felt ensnared by his troubles and fears.

His dance serves as an escape, a means of transcending paralysis; it symbolizes a metamorphosis, a rebuilding aimed at revealing a new self, shaped by his experiences.

It’s a way of articulating his past through dance in the present, a path to healing for the future.

Siaka Coulibaly was born in Koumbia, a rural region in western Burkina Faso. Trained as a specialized mason in the construction of Nubian vaults, it was a form of emancipation for him to shift towards practicing artistic dance and making it a professional project.

This opportunity presented itself to him in the capital, Ouagadougou. After joining the Wassélémi troupe led by Flatié Démélé, he met Salia Sanou in 2014 and worked with Seydou Boro for the closing ceremony of the Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO) in 2016. At the 18th edition of the National Culture Week in Bobo-Dioulasso, he won the second prize in the Afro-Contemporary Dance section.

From 2015 to 2017, he trained in Afro-Contemporary dance at the Centre de Développement Chorégraphique CDC la Termitière in Ouagadougou under the direction of Salia Sanou and Seydou Boro. He received international dance training in Senegal (Germaine and Patrick Acogny, Irène Tassembédo, Flora Théfaine, Elsa Wolliaston, Mouhamed Balde, Alesandra Seutin), Togo (Chantal Loïal, Delphine Bachacou), and dance/documentary filmmaking in Benin. In 2022/23, he pursued training at Epsedanse Montpellier and has since been a part of Anne-Marie Porras’s NID company.

In Burkina-Faso, he created solo works such as L’Exile and Solo and the duo Comme nous et lui? He co-founded the Urban Impro Dance Project company. His solo piece, Soubwéré, represents a choreographic research approach focused on labor movements.

As a teacher, he imparts dance to children in Burkina-Faso, including a group of visual impaired children. He teaches dance to adults in Montpellier, France, and Belgium, and regularly conducts dance transmission and awareness programs as part of camin aktion’s #JeSuis program for unaccompanied minors, asylum seekers, and refugees.

Siaka Coulibaly is a beneficiary of the camin’cubateur program by camin aktion for professional support.

Upcoming performance dates

Conception & performance | Siaka Coulibaly

Executive production | camin aktion

Photos © Dirk Korell