Created in 2003 on the initiative of 5 friends including Chloé Vulliez and Eléonore Laveau who are still members, the Nyamaguè association makes African dance its main activity. Marie Jaillet, president since June 2018, talks about it in this relaxed interview.
Epiphane AMANFO: What does the name of your association – Nyamaguè – refer to and can you tell us about its history?
Marie JAILLET: This name comes from a Burkinabé dialect which means atmosphere. Originally, there were 5 friends who were passionate about dance, who, after the closure of their association in Marin – near Evian – wanted to continue their adventure by creating their own. At the time they were accompanied by dancers and percussionists from Burkina Faso, hence the choice of Nyamaguè.
Among the plethora of dances, why especially African dance?
This happened naturally for the band of 5 who had been doing African dance for a long time. However, there was the choice to go cut-shifted because it is relatively accessible, whether you are a beginner or seasoned dancer. It is also an interesting dance being the fusion of different rhythms, both traditional and contemporary, like hip-hop and ragga. So it gives a hyper dynamic choreographic mix that does not necessarily require an extremely demanding level.
What are your main activities focused on?
During the year, we mainly offer cut-offset lessons on Wednesday evenings with Eléonore our teacher. There are also 3 internships per year. This is the opportunity to honor a different dancer from an African country, to make us discover traditional dances. On April 17 and 27, respectively Kèlè Kam from Ivory Coast and Mohamed Kouyaté from Guinea will lead 2 courses.
In terms of funding, how is it going?
It is essentially based on the contributions of our members. We have 35 this year. We are also counting on the contribution of the town hall of Neuvecelle on which we depend.
Do you advocate cultural exchange with neighboring associations or elsewhere in Africa?
On essaye de nouer des partenariats avec certaines associations d’ici lors de nos fêtes ou soirées comme celle qui se tient chaque année au mois de janvier. Cela se traduit par des démonstrations de danse.
Y-a-t-il des africains qui participent à vos cours ou stages ?
Non ! Je ne sais pas pourquoi. Nous avons sûrement besoin de nous faire connaître. Peut-être que la communauté africaine à Neuvecelle n’est pas assez développée contrairement à celle de Thonon. J’avoue que ça manque sûrement énormément.
Auriez-vous un sujet que nous n’avions pas abordé, dont vous souhaiteriez nous faire partager ?
What is most important to us is to show different faces of African dance. We are in a world where everything moves so fast and all our cultures meet. We are witnessing phenomena of fusion within dance, whether African or otherwise. I find our association interesting to dance the coupe-shifted, but also to return to the fundamentals. We think about other artistic perspectives such as singing, percussion, etc. Establish a partnership with FAR’AFRIKA from Thonon.
Interview conducted by Epiphane Aman fo