Lacina Coulibaly

Undergraduate Discipline

Dance

Graduate Program

MFA Dance Program

Born in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Coulibaly's professional dance career, deeply rooted in traditional African dances, later merged with contemporary influences to create a uniquely African choreographic expression. As a teenager, he was a member of urban Dodo groups and continued to explore his tradition by joining Les Bourgeons, a traditional dance and theatre company. In 1990, he joined the traditional dance company Kongo Bâ. Three years later, he began his studies of contemporary dance with the well-known choreographer Lassann Congo (who was himself trained at the acclaimed Mudras-Afrique, Senegal). In 1995, Coulibaly created the Cie Kongo Bâ Teria with Souleymane Badolo and Ousseni Sako. Their creations, Frères sans stèles (1999), Vin Nem (2001), et Hydou Bye (2004) toured the world and won international awards, including the third-place award at SANGA, les Rencontres Choréographiques for Vin Nem (2001), which toured more than 30 cities in Europe in 2002 and throughout the United States in 2004 on the Movement (R)Evolution tour. The documentary film Movement (R)Evolution Africa (2007) is available from Documentary Educational Resources (der.org). Since 2005 Coulibaly has been teaching as guest lecturer, guest teacher, artist-in-residence, teaching workshop, and/or performer in various US institutions and universities (Brown University, Yale University, University of Florida, Cornell University, UCLA, New School, Barnard College, Sarah Lawrence College, and others); dance school (ECA in New Haven) and EDIT (Burkina Faso); CDC; the Choreographic Center of Development. He has danced and choreographed with other international dance companies—such as Salia ni Seydou, Faso Danse Theatre, Tché Tché, and Urban Bush Woman—and has collaborated artistically with individual artists such as Emily Coates (USA), Catherine Young (Ireland), Amy Sullivan (USA), Pipaluk Vibeke (Denmark), and Kota Yamazaki. Coulibaly has conducted major residencies in American universities, including Yale with Emily Coates in 2009, University of Florida in 2010 and 2012, Brown University in 2015, a performance project at Sarah Lawrence College in 2016, and a performance project at Barnard College in 2018. He also set a piece for Memphis Ballet in collaboration with Emily Coates. In December 2019, Coulibaly created a performance for the opening ceremony of the festival Dialogue de Corps and also presented his newest work “Sen Koro la,” an evocation of the sacrality of the mask.
 His unique blend of traditional and modern influences results in dynamic intellectual and artistic processes that intrigue and inspire young artists and audiences. Coulibaly’s choreography often provokes questions of the (dis)integration of the traditional and the contemporary. He also set Sigini, an analytical approach that emerged from learning, practicing, and studying African Dance and particularly dance in West Africa. Sigini is a pedagogical approach that establishes three principles to design, sculpt, and write movement through dance. Coulibaly is currently a guest lecturer at Yale University, as well as at Sarah Lawrence College. SLC 2016–

Undergraduate Courses 2021-2022

Dance

Dance Movement Fundamentals

Component—Year

Movement and dancing are definitive signs of life! In every environment and at every level of existence, from single-cell organisms to entire populations, dancing is innate to living beings. The objective here is to awaken/reawaken students’ connection to movement as an elemental mode of human experience and learning. Students are introduced to some basic principles of dancing, as well as to strategies for preparing for dancing. Building fundamental skills for a wide range of movement studies, the focus is centered on learning movement and refining individual, partnered, and group performance in a variety of patterns and styles. Basic anatomical information is used to facilitate an understanding of dynamic alignment and movement potentials. Challenges in coordination, rhythm, range, and dynamic quality are systematically engaged, allowing students to gain strength, flexibility, endurance, balance, musicality, and awareness in the dance setting. While the primary emphasis is placed on learning structured material, improvisation and composition are incorporated to support students’ growing engagement with dance as an art form.

Faculty

Movement Studio Practice

Component—Year

In these classes, emphasis will be on the steady development of movement skills, energy use, strength, and articulation relevant to the technical and aesthetic orientations of each teacher. At all levels, attention will be given to sharpening each student’s awareness of time and energy and to training rhythmically, precisely, and in accordance with sound anatomical principles. Degrees of complexity in movement patterns will vary within the leveled class structure. All students will investigate sensory experience and the various demands of performance.

Faculty

West African Dance

Component—Spring

This yearlong course will use physical embodiment as a mode of learning about and understanding of African diasporic cultures. In addition to physical practice, master classes led by artists and teachers regarded as masters in the field of African diasporic dance and music, along with supplementary study materials, will be used to explore the breadth, diversity, history, and technique of dances derivative of the Africa diaspora. Afro Haitian, West African, Orisha dances (Lucumi, Afro Cuban), and social dance are some genres that will be explored. Participation in year-end showings will provide students with the opportunity to apply studies in a performative context.

Faculty

Graduate Courses 2021-2022

MFA Dance

Movement Studio Practice

Component—Year

In these classes, emphasis will be on the steady development of movement skills, energy use, strength, and articulation relevant to the technical and aesthetic orientations of each teacher. At all levels, attention will be given to sharpening each student’s awareness of time and energy and to training rhythmically, precisely, and in accordance with sound anatomical principles. Degrees of complexity in movement patterns will vary within the leveled class structure. All students will investigate sensory experience and the various demands of performance.

Faculty

West African Dance

Component—Spring

This yearlong course will use physical embodiment as a mode of learning about and understanding of African diasporic cultures. In addition to physical practice, master classes led by artists and teachers regarded as masters in the field of African diasporic dance and music, along with supplementary study materials, will be used to explore the breadth, diversity, history, and technique of dances derivative of the Africa diaspora. Afro Haitian, West African, Orisha dances (Lucumi, Afro Cuban), and social dance are some genres that will be explored. Participation in year-end showings will provide students with the opportunity to apply studies in a performative context.

Faculty

Previous Courses

MFA Dance

African Diasporic Dance

Component—Year

This yearlong course will use physical embodiment as a mode of learning about and an understanding of African diasporic cultures. In addition to physical practice, master classes led by artists and teachers regarded as masters in the field of African diasporic dance and music, along with supplementary study materials, will be used to explore the breadth, diversity, history, and technique of dances derivative of the Africa diaspora. Afro Haitian, West African, Orisha dances (Lucumi, Afro Cuban), and social dance are some genres that will be explored. Participation in year-end showings will provide students with the opportunity to apply studies in a performative context.

Faculty

Performance Project

Component—Fall

West African and European contemporary dance-trained Lacina Coulibaly will introduce students to, and develop tools to create, an intimate or sacred space within themselves and with others. In keeping with his own philosophical approach, the process will originate from walking, the natural gait. Taking this as the basis for the creation of rhythm, the students will work without judgment, either internal or external. They will also study the fundamental principles of West African dance and its sensibilities that form the base of Coulibaly’s own practice, each student taking those principles into their own bodies and allowing them to give rise to new vocabulary. In Coulibaly’s home culture, dance is community. In his interpretation, dance is about relationship—within our own bodies, with the Earth, with others, and with the world around us, both visible and invisible. That relationship is where rhythm takes place. Our role as dancers is to serve the spirit of the dance and all of the relationships that go with it. At the end of the semester, students will showcase their work as a performance.

Faculty

Dance

Modern and Postmodern Practice

Component—Year

In these classes, emphasis will be on the continued development of basic skills, energy use, strength, and control relevant to the particular style of each teacher. At all levels, attention will be given to sharpening each student’s awareness of time and energy and to disciplining the body to move rhythmically, precisely, and in accordance with sound anatomical principles. Intermediate and advanced students will study more complex movement patterns, investigate somatic use, and concentrate on the demands of performance.

Faculty