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Celia Weiss Bambara is a dancer and choreographer with a Ph.D. from the University of California–Riverside in Critical Dance Studies, and she holds an MA in Dance from the University of California–Los Angeles. She is a dual citizen of the US and Burkina Faso and maintains a bi-national pick-up company in the Ivory Coast and North Carolina. Celia is an assistant professor of dance and the acting director of the Dance Program at UNC Asheville, where she has designed an entirely new hybrid dance minor and instituted an artist-in-residence program. She moved to Asheville in 2015 from Abidjan, Ivory Coast, where she taught as a professor of dance at the National Arts Conservatory (INSAAC). Prior to this appointment, Celia was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she taught between 2008 and 2011. She has also had the opportunity to teach at a variety of liberal arts colleges, research universities and public schools as a dance artist.

Celia is a practice-based scholar, and her work addresses the intersections of practice as research in contemporary and African diasporic dance. Her dance work has been shown in the United States, the Caribbean, West Africa and Europe, at venues including Dancespace in New York, Links Hall in Chicago, Zacho Studios in San Francisco, the Drucker Center in Chicago, Praxis Place and Outerspace in Chicago, Institut Français in Abidjan, Goethe Institut in Abidjan, Alliance Française in Chicago, Jane Addams Hull House in Chicago, San Francisco at the Mission Theater, Claremont Mckenna College, Epiphany Episcopal Church in Chicago, the African American Museum in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Occidental College, University of Southern California, the National Theater in Abidjan (CNAC), the National Arts Conservatory in Abidjan (INSAAC), on National Television in Haiti, in Trinidad at Alice Yard and the Republic of Sydenham, in Jamaica at the Caribbean Studies Association, Donko Seko in Mali, Flox Galleries in Kirchau, Germany, MJC Picaud Theater in Cannes, France, and at the Belk Theater at UNC Asheville. Her work has appeared in CIE Téné's Les Deux Terre Festival in (Cannes, France), Links Hall 30/30 Festival (Chicago), Afrik Urban Arts Dance Festival (Abidjan), Haitian Dance Music and Arts Festival (San Francisco), Un Pas Vers L'Avant (Abidjan) and the MASA (African Performing Arts) Festival (Abidjan). Most recently, her solo works have toured in Jamaica, Trinidad, New York, the Ivory Coast, Cedar Rapids, San Francisco, Chicago, Germany, France and Michigan. Her site-specific dance works have been seen in Chicago at Doukan Arts Center and at the Silver Room Annual Block Party, in Trinidad at Alice Yard and in the Botanical Gardens at UNC Asheville. She is currently engaging in other multi-media investigations, experiments and installations, both locally and nationally.

She has completed long-term contemporary dance-based projects in Abidjan between 2013 and 2015 and in Haiti between 1999 and 2003. Her awards include grants from the Puffin Foundation, the US State Department, the University of Illinois at Chicago (Postdoctoral Fellowship), the National Theater Center in Abidjan, the Djerassi Foundation, the UCIRA (University of California Institute for Research in the Arts) for collaborative work in Haiti, the BVAR, the Dance and Performance Institute (Trinidad), Donko Seko (Mali) and Ecole Des Sables Creative Residency (Senegal).

Celia's movement research combines the base of Haitian dance with other African forms, modern/contemporary dance, yoga and Klein Mahler technique. She recently began study of BMC (Body Mind Centering) in Asheville and is looking forward to pursuing deeper inquiries into this set of somatic investigations. She has danced for JAKA in Port-au-Prince, Martin Dancers and Ayizan in Los Angeles and Rachel Thorne Germond in Chicago. She has collaborated with notable artists including Abou Bassa, Kimathi Moore, Djenane St. Juste, Christian Bambara, Dicko Yanogo, Jean-Luc Okou and Florencia Pierre, among others. Celia has taught at INSAAC (National Arts Conservatory, Abidjan), UC Riverside, Occidental College, Glendale Community College, UCLA, Romona High School for the Arts, the University of Illinois at Chicago and with Chicago Arts Partners in Education. She has taught Master Classes at USC, Occidental College, Grinnell College, UCLA, the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Denison University. Celia has also taught Haitian traditional dance, African contemporary dance and improvisation/composition at cultural centers and dance studios in Michigan, Los Angeles, Iowa, Chicago, Santa Barbara, New York, Jamaica, Haiti, Tobago, Trinidad, Burkina Faso, Mali and the Ivory Coast. The sites for her teaching include Dance New Amsterdam (New York), Donko Seko (Mali), Gateway Dance Theater (Des Moines, Iowa), Links Hall (Chicago), Rast Ballet (Chicago), Praxis Place (Chicago), Heartbeat House (Los Angeles), Shana (Port-au-Prince), Jaka (Port-au-Prince) and at the Ministry of Culture in Tobago, EDEC in Abidjan, Ecole de Danse Edit (Burkina Faso) and in Abidjan for the Un Pas Vers L'Avant festival at the INSAAC and National City Park, as well as at the Foyer de Jeunes (Dakar, Senegal) through Andreya Ouamba's CIE Premier Temps teaching initiatives in the community.

Celia is a practicing yogi and teacher of yoga. She is 200-hour RYT certified through the International Yoga Alliance, and she has taught yoga in Michigan, North Carolina, Germany, Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast. She practices a mindful slow flow that is combined with somatics and adapted to the needs of dancing/dancerly bodies. She began practicing in 2003 after working on a choreographic project in Haiti and injuring herself while dancing on the concrete. After many years of study at Silver Lake Yoga in Los Angeles and through work-study at Moksha yoga in Chicago between 2006 and 2010, Celia decided to pursue her certification in Hatha yoga through the Sivananda Ashram in Grass Valley California. Her perspective on yoga is shaped by somatic study, years of professional dancing and choreographic practice, her developing personal practice, and yogic spirituality and mindfulness. Celia's work addresses the complex set of intersections between artistic practice and theoretical inquiry in contemporary and African diasporic dance by posing practical responses through choreography and improvisation, organizing community events and producing written analyses. Her work traverses/intersects issues in process, movement research, improvisation, ethics, gender, race, translation, home and elsewhere, circulation, inter-culturalism, contemporaneity and tradition in relation to the work of her own company as well as other contemporary and diasporic artists. Her written work is published in a variety of sources including Making Caribbean Dance, Area Magazine in Chicago, the Chicago Artists Resource, the Journal of Haitian Studies, Australasian Drama Studies and the Encyclopedia of Race and Racism. Celia has also curated Anatomy Riot in LA, the Bloom series in Chicago and evening-length performances with dialogues about contemporary dance in Chicago and Abidjan. More information can be found at www.celiaweissbambara.com

Lacina Coulibaly was born in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. His 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 Teria. Three years later, Lacina 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, Lacina created the Cie Kongo Bâ Teria with Souleymane Badolo and Ousseni Sako. Their creations, Frères sans stèles (1999), Vin Nem (2001) and Hydou Bye (2004), toured the world and won international awards, including third place at SANGA, les Rencontres Chorégraphiques for Vin Nem, which toured more than 30 cities in Europe in 2002 and throughout the United States on the Movement (R)Evolution tour in 2004. Beyond his continuing work with Kongo Bâ Teria, he has danced and choreographed with other international dance companies, such as Salia ni Seydou, Faso Danse Theatre, and TchéTché, he has also collaborated with individual artists, such as Emily Coates (USA) and Catherine Young (Ireland). Since 2007, he has conducted major residencies at American universities, including Yale, Brown, and the University of Florida. His unique blend of traditional and modern influences results in dynamic intellectual and artistic processes that intrigue and inspire young artists and audiences. Lacina's choreography often provokes questions of the (dis)integration of the traditional and the contemporary. His newest work, entitled Transcendence, is a solo that explores the place of faith in urban life. It premiered at Cornell University's Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts (USA) in March 2009. He and his company Kongo Bâ Teria were recently featured in the documentary film Movement (R)Evolution Africa (2007), available from Documentary Educational Resources (der.org). Since 2005, Lacina has worked with universities in the USA (Brown University, Yale University, University of Florida, Cornell University, UCLA and Colombus University, among others) and dance schools (such as ECA in New Haven) as a guest lecturer, artist-in-residence, teaching workshop and performer. He is currently on the faculty at Yale University.

Christian Bambara is a dancer, choreographer, actor and teaching artist who is a dual citizen of the United States and Burkina Faso. He was born in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in 1977. Christian is a choreographer for the CCBdance project and has also co-directed the company. In September of 1993, he was selected as an actor and dancer to train in traditional dance, contemporary dance and choreography with the polyvalent company Bourgeon de Burkina. Christian has extensive experience in African theater as well as dance and has over time developed a strong African contemporary technique based on his movement research. He has studied with the company Salia Ni Seydou, Lassan Congo, Mathilde Monnier, Elsa Wolliaston and Robert Seyfried. Christian performed with the Bourgeon de Burkina from 1993 to 2002, touring Africa, Europe and French Guyana. He has performed his work at the Bodily Dialogues Festival and at the Fifth Choreographic Encounters of Africa and the Indian Ocean, two of the larger festivals in West Africa that are platforms for young artists. He has worked collaboratively with Company FEEREN, Company Evasion, the Atelier Theatre Burkinabé, the Gambidi Cultural Center, Brett Raphael, Olivier Tarpaga and Celia Weiss Bambara. Christian has also taught as an artist in residence at the Education Center for the Arts (ACES) in New Haven, Connecticut, the National Music School in Ouagadougou, the French Cultural Center in Burkina Faso, Romona High School for the Performing Arts, Ginga Cultural Center in Santa Barbara, Columbia College and Grinnell College. In addition, Christian has taught master classes at Grinnell College and Loyola University in Chicago, as well as teaching at studios and dance centers including Links Hall, Praxis Place, focusfish, Djoniba Drum and Dance Center and the Heartbeat House in Michigan, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Chicago, Connecticut, New York and Iowa.

Current Collaborators:
Abou Bassa - Music
Kima Moore - Music and Video
Jean-Luc Okou - Dance and Theater
Jana Schmuck - Dance
Lassana Kamagate - Dance and Theater
Rob Bowen - Lighting Design

Past Collaborators:
Souleymane Boumou - Costume Design
Dicko Yanogo - Dance
Archana Kumar - Dance
Dena Burman - Dance
Djenane St. Juste - Dance
Florencia Pierre - Dance and Theater
Flavienne Lago - Dance
Souleymane Koro - Costume and Set Design
Sam Bapes - Lighting Design
Barnus Sevi - Photography
Celoa Kouleon -
Photography and Design
Digital Plus - Photography and Video
Momar Ndiaye - Dance
Elise Fitte-Duvall - Photography
Nadia Oussenko - Photography
Daniel Morel - Photography
Mariah Karson - Photography
Digital Plus - Video

Student Apprentice Dancers or Interns:
Binta N'Da - Dance and administration
Aminata Traore - Dance and administration
Lane Wagner - Dance
Becca Spriz - Dance
Alexandra Montoya - Dance
Kantarra Souffrant - Dance and Praxis Place Intern
Amy Swanson - Dance and Praxis Place Intern
Yannick N'Goran - Administration

Mentorship for projects, ideas has come from many sources, but we are especially indebted to Souleymane Badolo, Kettly Noel, Cynthia Oliver, Thomas De Frantz, Rachel Germond, Asimina Chremos and Anthea Kraut.