Skip to main content
Back to search
  • Add to playlist

La Danseuse d'ébène

La Danseuse d'ébène

La danseuse d'ébène

Seydou Boro, for a while an interpreter for Mathilde Monnier, is also a choreographer and a director. He dedicates here a documentary to one of the figures of African creative dance, Irène Tassembédo, like himself from Burkina Faso, where the entire film was shot. This portrait, where Germaine Acogny also appears, helps restore an entire part of the history of dance, around the ties and tensions between two continents and two cultures.

Irène Tassembédo has been living in France for twenty years. In 1978 in Burkina, she was selected to follow the classes at the Mudra-Afrique school that Maurice Béjart set up in Dakar and that Germaine Acogny would direct. A meeting with Irène Tassembédo, leads to a vital subject: the issue of the body, its values and its imaginary world, as well as the special meaning it assumes for African dancers confronted with learning Western contemporary dance. By accompanying her career with numerous interviews, work sessions and journeys, this film evokes an approach based on genuine convictions: Irène Tassembédo believes that African dance must take its place in a changing world, without denying its own gestural technique and without its being frozen in a traditional scheme often synonymous of folklore. Her experience covers two generations of artists and their questioning of contemporary creation and cultural mixing.

Source : Irène Filiberti

Tassembédo, Irène

Irène Tassembédo is a choreographer from Burkina Faso who lived in France for several years where she carried out quite unique artistic research by reinterpreting contemporary choreography by drawing on the land-based sources of African dance. In 1988, she formed Compagnie Ebène, then ten years after establishing the company, she created the Burkina Ballet in Ouagadougou. 

Irène Tassembedo intended to: bring together contemporary and African choreography in order to breathe modernity into African dance whilst continuing to preserve its roots and traditions. Her entire work, which illustrates her approach to African dance, was honoured by a SACD award in 2000. 

Also an actress, Irène Tassembedo has worked regularly hand-in-hand with the German director Matthias Langhoff. Alongside her latest creations, the choreographer runs a wide range of dance courses and master classes. She returned to settle in Burkina Faso in 2007 where she created new choreographic works and opened an international dance school “Les Tamariniers” offering contemporary Afro dance mentoring, in October 2009.

As part of her work promoting African choreographic heritage, she created the Ouagadougou International Dance Festival (OIDF) in January 2013; a dance festival which aims to promote and develop the different forms of dance present on the African continent and African diasporas throughout the world. The 1st edition of the festival brought together some twenty-seven dance companies from around the world and almost 3,000 spectators over eight days. The OIDF has also become a centre for professional encounters and for artistic expression and promotion. In 2016, she also coordinated the Triennial Danse l’Afrique danse !, an event organized by the Institut Français.

Source : Africultures

More information : 

La danseuse d'ébène

Production / Coproduction of the video work : Les Films Pénélope, Sahélis productions, Muzzik, TV5, RTBF, CNC, Procirep

Duration : 54'

Our videos suggestions

Words of dancers

Paroles de danseurs (France)

  • Add to playlist

Coupé Décalé studies Extract

  • Add to playlist

En avant

  • Add to playlist


Monnier, Mathilde (France)

  • Add to playlist

La danseuse d'ébène

Boro, Seydou (Burkina Faso)

  • Add to playlist

Vita Nova

Lamoureux, Éric (France)

  • Add to playlist

Nous, la danse

  • Add to playlist


Alexandre, Yvann (France)

  • Add to playlist


Baïz, Josette (France)

  • Add to playlist

My Brazza

Bobée, David (France)

  • Add to playlist

Interview de Richard Adossou

Adossou, Richard (Benin)

  • Add to playlist
Our themas suggestions
By accessing the website, you acknowledge and accept the use of cookies to assist you in your browsing.
You can block these cookies by modifying the security parameters of your browser or by clicking onthis link.
I accept Learn more