In Mali, a dance contest is uniting conflict-torn communities

Finalist of the Faso Don dancing contest, Naba Kante, performs on stage during the filming of the TV show on October 6, 2018, in the Malian capital Bamako. – All 3,000 seats in the cavernous Palace of Culture in Bamako had been snatched up, and the mood was at fever pitch as the TV dance competition reached its climax. (Photo by Sebastien Rieussec / AFP)

In the Malian capital of Bamako, eight young dancers from all over the country have been taking part in Faso Don, a six week-long dance-based reality programme conceived by choreographer and dancer Sékou Keita.

Faso Don is a TV dance programme that seeks to promote traditional Malian dance forms, which are often forgotten amid the popularity of modern hip-hop styles. Eight young dancers from all over the country headed to the capital of Bamako to take part in the six week long competition.

The winner of the first series was Rokia Diallo, a contestant from the city of Sikasso who won over the jury with her performance of the Takamba, a traditional dance from the North of Mali.

It’s hoped that the show will help to foster understanding and mutual respect in a country that all too often sees conflict between its varied communities.

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