MERVEILLES DE FEU KEMOKO SANO
Ballet Merveilles de Guinee (or Merveilles d’Afrique) is a national Guinean dance and percussion ensemble committed to preserving and sharing Guinean tradition through performance. Ballet Merveilles is based in Conakry and was founded in 1986 by renown Guinean choreographer Mohamed Kemoko Sano.
Kemoko Sano is regarded as one of Guinea’s most revered percussionists and choreographers. In 1973 Guinea’s first President, Ahmed Sekou Toure, invited Sano to serve as the Director of Ballet National Djoliba In 1985, Sano was appointed director of choreography for Les Ballet Africains. There, he staged the company’s touring programs: Silo, La Cloche de Hamana, Heritage, and Mandinkalou. Sano then founded his own private company — Ballet Merveilles de Guinee — which immediately distinguished itself by its fresh choreography, percussive ingenuity, and commitment to traditional story-telling.
Kemoko Sano passed away in 2005 after a battle with diabetes. In 2002, Sano turned the ballet over to his eldest son, Sekou Sano, who continues to direct the company in Dixinn Port, Conakry. In 2005 Yamoussa Soumah — principal dancer of Ballet Africains and original member of Ballet Merveilles D'Afrique — became the company’s Director of Choreography. Under the leadership of Sano and Soumah, Merveilles continues to perform, promoting traditional Guinean culture characteristic of the elder Sano’s work. Ballet Merveilles has won a host of competitive awards and prizes throughout its 25 over plus year career. The company has performed throughout West Africa, the United States, and Europe.
In addition to training artists in Guinea, Ballet Merveilles has trained some of the world’s most prominent dance and drum instructors including