• ABOUT •

WAATO SiiTA is one of Senegal’s most respected and widely known traditional dance companies. A mandinko expression meaning ‘the time is now’, WAATO SiiTA was formed in 2010 by artistic director Bouly Sonko who, after 30 years as director of the Senegalese National Ballet, decided to embark on a project bringing together Senegal’s best dancers and percussionists to develop new work celebrating the traditional art-forms of dance, music and song. The company’s director of choreography is Pape Moussa Sonko, Senegal’s most prolific dancer, he brings his unique fusion style of traditional and contemporary movement to create original and powerful choreography.  

The company has toured Europe performing at various festivals including Festival Chambery, Lagarde Festival, Couleurs du Monde Martingues and Festival Mondial De Montrejeau. They have been cultural ambassadors for Senegal at the International Arabo-African Festival of Traditional Dances in Tizi-Ouzou, Algeria and performed at the Contemporary Dance Festival Algiers. In 2016 they were the featuring act at BAM Festival of Africa Dance in New York.  

WAATO SiiTA continues to push the boundaries of traditional West African dance drawing on the rich history of Senegal to tell stories of everyday life in a country where the ancient and modern collide in enchanting ways. Their performances express joy, sadness and the pure energy of the African existence

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Le Ballet de la Renaissance Africaine « WAATO-SIITA » a représenté le Sénégal dans plusieurs événements au niveau national et international. 

La Troupe « WAATO-SIITA» est dirigée par M. Bouly SONKO, ancien grand directeur du Ballet National du Sénégal. Il est une grande référence pour la culture artistique Sénégalaise et a marqué de son empreinte beaucoup de scènes mondiales.
Le chorégraphe et metteur en scène du Ballet est le danseur attitré de l'orchestre de Youssou Ndour, le "Super Etoile" de Dakar. Il est une vedette de renommée internationale, Pape Moussa SONKO.

Les artistes de « WAATO-SIITA » sont composés de, danseurs, percussionnistes, instrumentistes, porteurs de masques... grand nombre d'entre eux ont pleinement participé au succès du ballet d’ouverture de la 3° édition du Festival Mondial des Arts Nègres tenu au Sénégal du 10 au 31 décembre 2010.

Ils font régulièrement des représentations officielles dans leur pays, et participent également à des festivals mondiaux, comme en Algérie au Festival International Arabo-Africain de danses Traditionnelles de Tizi-Ouzou; ou encore au festival international de danse contemporaine d'Alger, en 2011. Mais aussi en France, où ils ont effectué une tournée de 45 jours, pour l'été 2012. (Festival Mondial Folklore de Chambéry, festival Couleurs du Monde de La Garde, festival de Martigues, festival Rite de Saint Girons, festival Folkolor de Montrejeau, stages et représentations avec le centre AfroMundo Lyon).

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR - BOULY SONKO

Bouly Sonko has been sharing the beauty of traditional West African arts and culture all over the world for the past 40 years. Originally from Casamance in Senegal’s tropical south, he began his career as a dancer and singer for the National Ballet of Senegal in 1972. In 1979 he was given the position of artistic director of the National Ballet which he held for 31 years. The premier dance company in West Africa, winning international acclaim for its exuberant, colorful and precise performances and hailed by the New York Times as ‘the origin of the jitterbug, frug, charleston, shimmy and shake, and maybe even the spiritual roots of dance’. As director he undertook numerous world tours of the show ‘La Linguere’ and Kuuyamba’ presenting traditional Senegalese music and dance in the world’s most prestigious theatres. In 2010 he established his own company WAATO SiiTA to continue to share and develop traditional Senegalese music and dance for future generations.

DIRECTOR OF CHOREOGRAPHY - PAPE MOUSSA SONKO 

Pape Moussa Sonko is Senegal's premier dancer.  Based in Dakar, he tours and performs internationally with various African artists including Youssou N’Dour and the Super Etoile. He is the lead dancer and choreographer for the dance company Waato Siita and a respected dance teacher, with students from all over the world. Pape Moussa is particulary known for his electric sabar solos and his own fusion style choreographies.


Click HERE for a recent REVIEW OF WAATO SiiTA at the New York BAM festival.