A 10-day intensive dance and drum camp in Senegal, at the Atlantic coast, with excellent musicians and dancers of the Daniel Sorano National Theatre and Sory Camara Dance Theatre! A unique and inspiring camp where participants can learn West - African dances (serer, peul, mbalax, soninke, diola, etc.) and rhythms from the best dancers and musicians of Senegal. The leading artists of the camp are the multiple winners of the Senegalese "Oscar des Vacances" talent show: Elizabeth Mendy and Abdoul Camara, dancers of Daniel Sorano National Theatre and Sory Camara Dance Theatre. Djembe drums are granted for all participants, but if somebody wishes to play balafon or kora it could be equally organised. Beginner and advanced dance and drum courses will be launched separately, in the light of the final number of participants.
Why Senegal? In Senegal everything is pervaded by art, dance and music. Several world-famous Senegalese singers and dancers origin from this magnificent country (Youssou N'Dour; Akon; Baaba Maal; Cheikh Lo; Baobab Orchestra, etc.). There is a fantastic atmosphere, great teachers, and comfortable, clean and secured environment to experience African duncing and drumming.
1st day: Let’s go to Senegal! -Night in Dakar
Travel to Dakar, transfer to hotel. Night in Dakar. Senegal, the most westerly country in Africa, is named after the most important river of the region. It is bounded by Mauritania to the north, Mali to the east, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau to the south, and Gambia to the west. The country became independent from France in 1960, since then the democratic state is characterized by domestic political stability. Dakar is capital of the country populated by 14 million people. The official language of Senegal is French, the most common dialects are wolof, serer and peul. Currency is the Senegalese Franc (cfa).
The capital of Senegal with a population of 2.3 million people is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. Dakar is a cultural and trade centre, where the French colonial architecture can be admired. The city was established in the 15th century, there used to be fishing villages on the territory before. It became a favoured port for European sailors and later for slave traders because of its excellent location. During the guided city tour we are going to get to know the Senegalese culture: there will be opportunities for shopping textile in the market HLM, or buying celebration clothing suitable for local climate and culture. Historic places of Dakar will be visited, too. In the afternoon we will visit the Retba Lake, whose pink colour is caused by a special alga, Dunaliella salina. There are only 2-3 similar lakes on the earth. Near the lake a fula village will be visited. The fula (or fulbe, or peul) ethnicity with 40 million people is one of the most significant African migrant group, they live in more than one dozen African country. Rallying between sand dunes, as the Paris-Dakar international race ended at the Pink Lake till 2009. We will spend the night in Mbour, 100 meters by the coast.
2nd Day: Visit Pink Lake and Peul villages, night in Mbour
Visit of Lake Rose situated 70 km-s from Dakar. The Pink Lake is an extraordinary natural site where you will witness a natural lake coloured reddish and pinkish depending on the wind and sun. We will tour around the lake touching dunes of the Sahara and the Atlantic coast line with a giant "buggy". We will visit a peul or fulbe village, meet with the village chief, and visit some local houses, and the community market place. Night in Mbour.
3-10 Day: International dance and drum camp
9:00-12:00 dance workshop
12:00-15:00 lunch and relaxation
15:00-18:00 drum workshop
18:00-20:00 dinner and relaxation, fire on the beach, joy of dance, joy of music
EVERY DAY: extra programs, surprises, guest performers, such as Sory Camara Dance Theatre
The 8 days of the camp consists of 6 thematic days ( SERER; SONINKE; DIOLA AND SOSE; MBALAX; HALPULAR; PEUL), where you will learn the dances and rhythms of 6 important West-African ethnic groups. During these panels, the traditional culture, history, musical instruments and specialties of these groups will be presented. Our aim is to give you a complex knowledge by the end of the day about these cultures, keeping dance, drumming and entertainment in the foreground! Participants for the course can bring own drums, but musical instruments are granted by the camp.
Leading Artist: Abdoul Camara, Daniel Sorano National Theatre, Sory Camara Dance Theatre
Abdoul Camara is professional dancer of the Daniel Sorano National Theatre (Senegal). He is two times winner of 'Oscar des Vacances' dance competition and leader, coreographer and artistic director of Ballet Sory Camara Dance Company in Grand Yoff, Dakar. He started dancing at the age of 6 with his famous dancer father, Ibrahima Sory Camara. He started to travel through his art from the age of 11. He has been to France, Guadalupe, Japan, India, Tunesia, Algeria, and DR-Congo among others. He is a wonderful artist and dancer of West-African dances (peul, serer, diola, yela, soninke etc.) He is famous for his unique performance with the calabash, a sacred object herited from his peul descendants.
Assisting dancers and musicians: members of Sory Camara Dance Theatre
Sory Camara Dance Theatre is composed of 17 dancers, singers and musicians living in Senegal, West-Africa. The dance company was founded by Ibrahima Sory Camara in 1964. He has been a great dancer from Guinean origin, who made an international career as dancer. The company performs diola (Casamance region), toucouler (Fouta Toro), sabar (Dakar) and peul (Guinea) dances and choreographies. They play traditional instruments such as the flute, marecass, kora, balafon, djembe, doroma among others. They perform at festivals and organize drum and dance workshops. They are famous and unique for their dances with the calabash. The Camara family live in a community house in Dakar (Grand Yoff) where children grow up with music and dance therefore traditions and music and dance heritage is passed from generation to generation. The company seeks further opportunities to perform at festivals and cultural events in Europe, Africa and around the globe.
During the camp, 2 half days will be dedicated to sightseeing tours!
Saloum Delta National Park and Serer villages
A Serer village will be visited, where polygamous families live in cottages covered with palm leaves. We can have an insight into the everyday life, cottages, and kitchen of these families, and an opportunity for gifting and conversation with local people. The Saloum Delta (96000 ha) is part of World Heritage because of its biodiversity and diverse flora and fauna. The territory is characterized by more than 200 bird species, mangrove forests and baobab trees. We will participate in a boat tour at the River Saloum and have barakuda lunch on a little island. One of the oldest baobab trees of Senegal will also be visited. The baobab tree is a holy tree and an importantsymbol of Senegal. Numerous stories and medical practica are connected to it. Travel back to Mbour, night in Mbour.
Safari in the Bandia Game Reserve, night in Mbour
Rhino, giraffe, zebra, warthog, zebra, ostrich and various antelope species live in the wildlife reserve. Speciality of the park: some animals are approachable on foot in the bush. Free program in the afternoon, farewell party of the camp in the evening. Night in Mbour.
11th day: Gorée Island and the arts of Dakar
Travel back to Dakar in the morning. Visit to Gorée Island (900 x 300m) a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is located 20 minutes from Dakar. It is a historic place of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, which lasted three centuries long. We will visit the slave prison, the History Museum, and the local art market, where souvenirs, masks and sculptures can be bought. We will try the mafé (peanut-butter) sauce at lunch. Transit to airport, departure back to Europe in the evening.
In Senegal, I have passed one of the best 11 days of my entire life. I have experienced a very different, but very human world. I think there are only a few such 'intensive' worlds and cultures on he Earth. I thank you to help me to experience this feeling. -
Everyone should visit this wonderful country. Great moments, beautiful landscapes, the Ocean and delicious meals wait the visitors in Senegal. We can get to know the capital, the coast, local families with professional guiding. I can only suggest Senegal as a travel destination, so I urge you to travel to Senegal. Teranga Senegal! -
I loved the idea of sewing a traditional cloth in Senegal. It was a unique and funny experience. I confess that I wear my African boubou sometimes at home. I love it because it is so comfortable -
We arrived at a crowded suburb of Dakar, Ngediawaye. We parked the minibus and continued on foot. We entered the market and walked for 10 minutes to get to the textiles department. The market was crowded, and we followed our local guide who took us to tiny streets where we could see and photograph freely the everyday moments of Senegalese people. I could understand a lot about everyday life, Senegalese foods and drinks during an hour. This was an excellent program. The other participants were not aware how lucky we were with this possibility. Other African tour operators would drive you through the main street of the market with carefully closed doors and windows in the best scenario. I could have never imagined that I can so easily and freely walk into an African market where there are so many things to discover. -
I loved Africa during my previous travels, but during this travel, I started to admire it! I have gaines wonderful experiences and lot's of cultural knowledge! Thank you! -
It was one of the most influential travels of my life where I have not only got the chance to know a different culture better, but learnt a lot about myself. -