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Interview with Vado Diomande: Ivory Coast West Africa

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Interview with Vado Diomande

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Interview with Vado Diomande: Ivory Coast West Africa
Additional title: Jerome Robbins Archive of the Recorded Moving Image original documentation
Diomande, Vado (Interviewee)
Diomande, Vado (Performer)
Camara, Maguette (Interviewer)
Webb, Carolyn (Carolyn Jeannette) (Project director)
Niang, Mamadou (Videographer)
Mertz Gilmore Foundation (Presenter)
New York Public Library. Dance Division (Presenter)

African Dance Video Archive

Dates / Origin
Date Created: 2015-08-09
Library locations
Jerome Robbins Dance Division
Shelf locator: *MGZIDF 6171
Diomande, Vado -- Interviews
Ballet National de Cote d'Ivoire
Guro (African people) -- Côte d'Ivoire
Dance -- Côte d'Ivoire
Music -- Côte d'Ivoire
Masks -- Côte d'Ivoire
Anthrax (Insect)
Djembe -- Côte d'Ivoire
Filmed dance
Filmed performances
Statement of responsibility: conducted by Maguette Camara ; project director, Carolyn Webb.
Conservation history: 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, Mamadou Niang.
Performers: Interviewee, Vado Diomande ; interviewer, Maguete Camara ; musicians, Vado Diomande (Djembe Drum).
Venue: Videotaped during an interview at the Studio, New York, N.Y., as part of the Mertz Gilmore Foundation funded African Dance Interview Project 2015 August 9.
Funding: This recording was made possible by Mertz Gilmore Foundation.
Funding: African Dance Interview Project funded by the Mertz Gilmore Foundation.
Physical Description
Born digital
Extent: 1 video file (58 min.) : sound, color
Maguette Camara introduces Vado Diomande as a widely recognized dancer, teacher, company director, and drum maker from Côte d'Ivoire. Diomande discusses learning to dance at age 4, his father being a dancer, and teaching other neighborhood children. He was initiated at 8 years old to become Gue-Pelou, the sacred masked stilt dancer in his (Mahouka) tradition. Pelou is the mask's name, and he was initiated to be the Keeper of the Mask. In his tradition, no one in the community can know the identity of the mask dancer; he went into the forest to prepare the mask in seclusion, where only the initiated can be present. If an appropriate private place can't be found to prepare properly, the mask dance won't happen. Diomande's transition from village dancer to professional dance came about due to dance competitions where mask dancers from different villages traveled to cities including Touba and Man to win the trophy. He was noticed by the Ballet National de Côte d'Ivoire at one of these events. After joining the Ballet National de Côte, he taught company members dances and acrobatics from his Mahouka tradition. He speaks about the dances done in the company and that there are 53 different ethnic groups in the Côte d'Ivoire. He toured and performed with the company for 15 years as a featured mask dancer. He founded his own dance company, (L'Ensemble) Kochenga d'Abidjan and his daughter is currently performing in his company in Africa. Diomande came to the United States in 1994 with a large African performance review as a featured mask dancer at The Memphis in May International Festival that featured performers from Côte d'Ivoire under the direction of Rose Marie Guiraud. He presented four tall masks under his company's name Kotchegna Dance Company. Maguette states that Diomande is a widely known mask dancer throughout Africa. He speaks about his love for dance and that he is referred to as the Rare Bird of Tofinga in Africa. Diomande would like people to learn about his cuture through dance. In NYC, people from various lifestyles come to his classes, and he encourages them first to relax. He began teaching in the Ballet National of Côte d'Ivoire, teaching his cutural dances and other repertoire to the company. He cites his first teaching venues in NYC as Djoniba Dance and Drum Centre and Fareta School of Dance & Drum. Among companies he has performed with in NYC are the Kehinde Dance Company, Marie Basse Wiles, Maguette Camera, Ombrinho, and Tamango (tap dancer from French Guiana Urban Tap company). He says not all dances from the Ivory Coast are with fast feet. He demonstrates the use of the chest. Some of the fast feet dances are from the Baoule and Bete people. He speaks of Zambele and Zaouly as two fast feet dances from the Gouro people, and discusses the origins of Zaouly as a mask dance in homage to a very beautiful girl. He talks about his philosophy of teaching and how he conducts a class with students of varying experience. His goal is to share his culture and he gears his class to prepare students for performance. He shares that when he hears the drums, he feels "no more pain". Diomande discusses how he began making drums by chopped down trees with his brother at age 12 and now he encourages his fellow countrymen to keep the traditional village style alive when he visits his home in Africa. Maguette states that Diomande is renowned for his excellence as a drum maker. He discusses his Anthrax health ordeal in 2006, and the hardships he faced, including the authorities seizure and destruction of all his property, including his drums and masks. The NYC Department of Health and the Environmental Protection Agency worked together to decontaminate and remove possessions from his apartment. He now gives an annual performance celebration every October with his company, Kotchegna Dance Company, to commemorate his remarkable survival and health recovery. He plays his djembe drum, dances, and sings a song from his CD, Vado's Back, and explains that it is a declaration and celebration of his Anthrax recovery. He gives more information about the djembe drum that he played during the interview and states that the drum represents his heart. He dances Tamate (a harvest dance from the Yacouba people) and plays his djembe drum to conclude the interview.
Type of Resource
Moving image
RLIN/OCLC: 939531106
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b20892442
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): cc0d93b0-c13b-0133-3e48-60f81dd2b63c
Copyright Notice
© Vado Diomande
Rights Statement
This item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

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MLA Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Interview with Vado Diomande" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 2015.

Chicago/Turabian Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Interview with Vado Diomande" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 22, 2024.

APA Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. (2015). Interview with Vado Diomande Retrieved from

Wikipedia Citation

<ref name=NYPL>{{cite web | url= | title= (moving image) Interview with Vado Diomande, (2015)|author=Digital Collections, The New York Public Library |accessdate=May 22, 2024 |publisher=The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations}}</ref>

Interview with Vado Diomande