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Seydou Coulibaly

Seydou Coulibaly is one of Mali’s leading dancers, teachers, and choreographers. He was named Mali’s #1 dancer in the final Biennale arts competition before the coup d’état in 1990. He then founded and was artistic director of Mali’s nationally respected and award-winning troupe Komée Josée, which toured throughout Mali. Coulibaly was educated according to ancient tradition: rather than attend a school modeled on Western educational practices or based upon Qur'anic teachings, Coulibaly received his education from village elders, traditional rituals, initiations into secret societies, and master dance teachers in the Segu region of Mali. As a result of his studies, all of Coulibaly's work is thoroughly researched and heavily steeped in folkloric tradition.

Seydou now also works extensively in the US, where he teaches Mande dance, music and culture at Wheaton College, Brown University, and at his long-running class at the Dance Complex in Cambridge, MA. Seydou also runs Yeredon, a cross-cultural school in Bamako, which aims to bring a greater knowledge of Malian culture to foreigners while preserving the work of Mali’s most talented artists. His film credits include Steven Spielberg's "Amistad,” “Mali Djembekan,” “Street Party in Lafiabougou,” and numerous educational films on Malian music, dance, and culture. 

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