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Ballet Merveilles or Merveilles d'Afrique or Merveille de Guinee is a ballet company that is based in Conakry. Founded in Conakry in 1986 by the Guinean choreographer of Les Ballets Africains, Mohamed Kemoko Sano, Ballet Merveille aka Merveilles d'Afrique has toured successfully in West Africa, the United States and Europe. Ballet Merveille is a dance and percussion ensemble that claims to enhance Guinean traditional dance and music, developing a choreographed, "refined" art form. The ensemble's principal goal is to ensure Guinea's Cultural identity and to preserve and promote Guinea's cultural heritage.
In 1990 and 1991 the group was awarded the "Baguette d'Or" and the "Djembe d'Or" prizes in the second and third National Guinean Percussion and Rhythm Competitions.
In 1998 the group of 40 performers migrated to the Bronx in New York. Finding a manager for the company that would do all the logistical work for the company, that could keep everybody together as a larger group was next to impossible. Company director, Kemeko Sano needed to change the way of performing, creating smaller sets choreographed for smaller groups of performers. That change fragmented the company into many smaller groups of people which meant changing the structure of the members' training. That was an easy adjustment to make because everyone had been training for years in West African dancing, performing and acting. Even so, the fragmentation of the groups made it hard for everybody to focus on the company. Over a short amount of time, 90% of the group decided to get jobs. Some began working in stores or restaurants, some started braiding hair for the ladies, and some decided teach dance and drumming. Because African dance is not valued the same as other western forms of art, finding work as an African Dance troupe was not easy.
Notable past members
- Director and Founder, Mohamed Kemoko Sano
- Mamady Sano
- Mouminatou Camara
- Fara Tolno
- Manimou Camara
- Sekou Sano
- Cedric Frank Stephens Sano
- Fodé Seydou Bangoura
- Marietou Camara
- Naby Bangoura
- Abou Sylla (N'Camara Abou Sylla)
- Aly Diabate
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