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Kalakuta Republik © Sophie Garcia 3 Kalakuta Republik | Photo: Sophie Garcia

Get to know... Serge Aimé Coulibaly

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Get to know Serge Aimé Coulibaly, the man behind Faso Danse Théâtre and the carnival of insurrection that is Kalakuta Republik

Serge Aimé Coulibaly was born in 1972 in Bobo-Dioulasso, the economic capital of Burkina Faso. A gifted dancer, he performed in many shows before becoming a choreographer, and in 1998 he designed the choreography for the opening ceremony of the Africa Cup of Nations. 

Coulibaly moved to Europe in 2001, where he joined les ballets C de la B in Belgium – the company that brought their work En avant, marche! to the International Festival in 2015 – where he performed in Alain Platel’s Wolf and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Tempus Fugit.

In 2002, Coulibaly founded Faso Danse Théâtre. With their critical look at modern Africa, the West, and their shared history, his undoubtedly political shows have been hailed as visionary; they question in real time the hopes of an African youth he accompanies in all its endeavours, including its revolutions.

Kalakuta Republik | Photo: Sophie Garcia

For Kalakuta Republik, Coulibaly draws inspiration from the music and the scandalous life of the Nigerian singer and musician Fela Kuti; a politically active artist who angrily denounced the corruption of power, sexism, inequalities, and multinational corporations. 

Kalakuta Republik is the name he’d given to his residence, in the suburb of Lagos, a place he saw as an independent republic. A herald of counterculture in West Africa, Fela Kuti and his personality, his engagement, his revolts, and his revolutionary afrobeat, are at the heart of what inspired this show, which focuses on the unquenchable thirst for freedom of today’s youth in Burkina Faso.

Kalakuta Republik isn’t a biography of Fela Kuti, nor is it a musical show based on his work. It is an exploration of artistic engagement and of the position adopted by politically minded artists in today’s society. For Coulibaly, dance is a march, and marching is a transformation: “marchers who come to a country will contribute to the building of that country for a long time to come. That is the reality of humanity, its hope.”


Serge Aimé Coulibaly's production of Kalakuta Republik comes to the International Festival on 8-11 August 2019. Part of our You Are Here season. Watch the trailer above.

Kalakuta Republik | Photo: Doune Photo

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