Interview with Mouminatou CamaraAdditional title: Jerome Robbins Archive of the Recorded Moving Image original documentation
NamesCamara, Mouminatou (Performer)Camara, Mouminatou (Interviewee)Adero, Malaika, 1957- (Interviewer)Webb, Carolyn (Carolyn Jeannette) (Project director)Bernadi, François (Videographer)Mertz Gilmore Foundation (Presenter)New York Public Library. Dance Division (Presenter)
African Dance Video Archive
Dates / OriginDate Created: 2014-08-27
Library locationsJerome Robbins Dance DivisionShelf locator: *MGZIDF 4095
TopicsCamara, MouminatouSeèWè African Dance CompanyFula (African people)Susu (African people)Dance -- GuineaMusic -- Guinea
GenresFilmed danceFilmed performancesInterviews
NotesStatement of responsibility: conducted by Malaika Adero ; project director, Carolyn Webb.Content: Widescreen.Statement of responsibility: This interview was made possible by the cooperation of the Jerome Robbins Archive of the Recorded Moving Image, Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library.Creation/production credits: Videographer, François Bernadi.Venue: Videotaped during interview at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, New York. N.Y., as part of the Mertz Gilmore Foundation funded African Dance Interview Project 2014 August 27.Funding: This recording was made possible by Mertz Gilmore Foundation.Funding: African Dance Interview Project funded by the Mertz Gilmore Foundation.
Physical DescriptionBorn digitalExtent: 1 video file (88 min.) : sound, color
DescriptionMouminatou Camara discusses the first time she came to the United States for seven months; returning to Guinea to deliver her baby; going back to NYC on tour with Les Ballets Africains; having a month vacation from the dance company and returning to New York to finally explore the city which she was unable to do while touring; growing up in Conakry, Guinea; many of Camara's friends being from the Susu ethnic group; learning their traditional dances; participating in school dance contests; dancing with the Conakry dance company 3 which helped prepare her to work with Les Ballets Africains; talking about the four languages that are spoken in Conakry: Fula, Susu, Malinke and French with a brief language lesson; Camara being a renowned dancer and musician from the Fulani people and of Muslim faith; her mother being from Mali and her father from Dalaba; presenting her father with a calabash; asking the blessing of her mother and husband to move to the United States once she realized she wanted to share her culture; meeting her husband and how her mother originally said they could not be married because of a pre-arranged agreement with another man whom she married and divorced first; the positive changes in women's rights in Guinea; how things have changed regarding arranged marriages in Fulani families; how it is now common for a woman to be a working artist; talking about the changes in education between public and private schools; teaching and performing in New York City; Bangaly Bangora helping to arrange workshops for Camara at the Fareta African Dance and Drum School in the mid 1990's; explaining the purpose of the Fulani dances, Yolele and Yetukalema, while singing the rhythms and fundamental steps of these dances; also informing us that the Susu culture has many dances and rhythms including the Guinea Fare, Mane, Yankade, and Makaru; the Yolee dance step before and after a wedding; the Yankada full moon dance for men and women and the dance that always follows, Makaru; many traditional dances have only one step; demonstrates the one step of the Mane, and clarifies that all other steps are the innovation of the African artists and choreographers for the stage; identifies and describes some of the traditional instruments used for specific dances and reflects how this has evolved in the USA; showing an example of how a Guinea Fare dance is traditionally performed with the Balaphone and Bote, but in New York City the djembe drum is played for that dance; the Malinke djembe drum being the most commonly used drum on this continent for African dance; young people going to the forest for a 6 month initiation; mask dances in Guinea and how traditional dances have been sped up by young artists; how teaching African dance requires patience especially if students come from another culture, and encouraging students to keep an open mind; the biggest teaching challenge in the USA being the language barrier; her resolve to learn English with the support of Rochelle Herbert; Camara founding Seewe African Dance Company in New York City in 1999 with 50-60 performers; folding the company in 2004 and reopening in 2005 with a smaller group of 10-12 professional dancers; utilizing her intuition to select dancers and how an inexperienced dancer can have special qualities that she can develop; the difference between performing a solo and a group piece; how her company dancers have dealt with race issues and now black and white dancers are working together; and Camara being happy that African dance is popular everywhere, even in Mexico and Japan.
Type of ResourceMoving image
IdentifiersRLIN/OCLC: 902738825NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b20524263Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 81f25a50-9e8a-0132-bf68-3c075448cc4b
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