About the author
A choreographer and a multidisciplinary West African drummer and dancer.
Rachel Bangoura was born in Tel Aviv, studied classical ballet in her youth with Mia Arbatova, and later at the Friendship House in Jaffa. She continued to modern dance – in Studio B in Tel Aviv and the Hasimta Club in Old Jaffa.
In 1988 she became a drummer, studied African drumming and dance in London, at the Odzido School and the Twelve Tribes of Israel organization.
During her time of studies, she performed with African dance in performances by musicians from West Africa such as Ayub Ogda, S. E. Rogie, David Oladuni, Reggie Farmer, and more.
In 1998 she studied and stayed in West Gambia in West Africa at Patella, the African ballet company compound, where she met her partner, Saboula Bangoura, an African master. In 2000, the two moved to Israel and settled in Pardes Hanna – Karkur and formed the Bangoura dance company there.
As a choreographer, Rachel has to date created about 12 different dance works on the subject of African ballet, works performed on stages such as Inbal, Suzanne Dellal and cultural halls around the country. The works express her love for Africa and are nurtured by the vast knowledge she and her partner, Saboula Bangoura have. The two lead a company of dancers and drummers that has been operating in Israel for 20 years, coaching, creating and teaching together in their country side area in Karkur.
Rachel joined the Choreographers’ Association in 2017.
About Saboula Bangoura
Saboula Bangoura was born in the city of Boca, in Guinea Conakry in West Africa. A member of the Landoma tribe. In this tribe, the djembe drum is used as the first and main musical instrument.
Began drumming in a tribal company called sorsornet. After 7 years of training under the leadership of Sekou Mathias, Saboula Bangoura became the company’s lead singer. Later he formed a small and innovative company called Oumou ni Gabori, with this company he performed all over Guinea Conakry, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Senegal.
In 1998 he moved to Gambia where he became lead dancer and teacher, in an African ballet company – Patella, which included many artists from different tribes – Landoma, Susu, Dajula, Uluf, Mandinka and Jakhanke. Alongside head of the company – Musa Kamara, Saboula resided as Patella’s active manager for 10 years. He trained and taught thousands of people both from Africa and around the world, set clear scales for well-known rhythms and composed concerts for the African ballet Patella. The day Rachel arrived at the company’s compound as a student, the two fall in love and decide to live together in Israel.
Saboula arrived in Israel in September 2000, and together they formed the Bangura Dance Company, teach in schools all over the country and give rhythm lessons. They delivered a special course to Eskesta, The Ethiopian Dance Company led by Ruth Eshel, at the University of Haifa. Every year, they open the Tamar Golan African studies at Ben Gurion University.
Appeared in front of President Mr. Shimon Peres at the 50th Anniversary of Africa-Israel Relations Conference. Representing African dance and drumming in cultural halls and the best stages in the country, in 2017 – Saboula become a member of ACUM association.
Dance works by Rachel Bangoura
Choreographer, company and house manager, drummer, dance costumes and jewelry designer, author of poetry and prose articles, African dance and drumming teacher.
Rachel Bangoura’s dance works, places of presentations and leading idea:
2004- “Stories of the Sacred Forest” – Performed at the Inbal Dance Theater, Karmiel Dance Festival.
Arrangement of life in an African village with an emphasis on African mysticism and rituals in the depths of the forest.
2005 – “Riding the Drum” – Performed at Inbal Dance Theater, Suzanne Dellal Center, Raanana Arts Center, Gerard Bachar Center in Jerusalem and more.
The story of a wandering drummer who meets a company of drummers and falls in love with the company’s lead drummer. With an initiation ceremony for the boys.
2006 – “The Magic Drum” – premiered at the 2006 Hot Dance at Suzanne Dellal Center as well as Inbal Dance Theater, at Sharet Hall in Petach Tikva, Gerard Bachar Center in Jerusalem and more.
The story of a girl who fights for her right to drum in a world where men drum and women dance… She struggles with people and animals, wins and gets to receive the blessing of the chief of the tribe who accepts her and entrusts her with the coveted drum.
2007 “Song of the Drum” – premiered at 2007 Hot Dance at Suzanne Dellal Center, at Inbal Dance Theater and the Pardes Hanna Hall of Culture. A colorful and rich production, the sounds of the Cora (the African harp) and the traditional Garo song of the mandingo combined with stormy and energetic dances with rich drum beats, and reading of poetry pieces written during voyages to Africa.
2008 “Dyura” – staged as part of Hot Dance 2008 at the Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv. The rhythm of the drums reveals to the viewers a magical story with transitions in a woman’s life, the longings for fertility and the African solution: The tribal healer treats and gives her blessing, the baby who feels the drums from the day it is created also receives the blessing of the angels and their protection. The music in the show ranges from rich and energetic drum beats to melodic pieces by the ensemble that includes the African harp – the Cora.
2009 “Liberta” – Performed as part of the 2009 Hot Dance Festival at Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv.
A dancer who becomes a snake following a difficult confrontation with an older woman, and the way to remove the punishment….
2010 “Drum Dance” – Performed as part of the 2010 Hot Dance Festival at Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv.
On the magical connection between the rhythm of the drums and the rhythm of life and movement in dance. All these dance pieces are studded with stormy dances and rich and clever drum beats composed by Saboula, the company’s master. Many and varied costumes mutually designed.
“Silo – The Road” Performed as part of the 2011 Hot Dance Festival at Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv 2011.
A show that focuses on age-old racism (agism). In Africa there is great respect for adults and a deep belief that older people have high spiritual abilities, so young people are careful not to harm adults in any way, the story is about a dancer who was not careful and hit an older woman and this turned her face white (‘whitened her face’ is a Hebrew Pun for shamed her).
2011 “Africa for Tamar” the Bangoura Company remembers Tamar Golan, the first Israeli Ambassador to Africa, journalist and author, head of the Africa Department and founder of Africa Center at Tel Aviv University.
Tamar Golan RIP was a close friend and kind of mentor of the Bangoura couple. On April 4th, 2011, an homage was held in her memory at the Suzanne Dellal Center.
2012 “Africa in Colors” Performed as part of the 2012 Hot Dance Festival at Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv.
A repertoire of African dances to traditional Bengoura-style rhythms, a combined choreography of modern and African – first time in the country: Afro-Modern Contemporary Dance.
2013 “Talking Drums” Performed as part of the 2013 Hot Dance Festival at Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv, July 27, 2013 and February 21, 2014, at Inbal Dance Theater on December 17, 2014
An African dance performance to traditional Bengoura-style rhythms, a development of the combined choreography of modern and African: Afro-Modern Contemporary Dance.
2015 “Adamawa” African homage to Genesis, premiered on 16.7.15 on the stage of Suzanne Dellal as part of Tel Aviv Dance 2015, 21.1.16 and 9.6.16 in Warehouse 2 and on 19.7.17 in Suzanne Dellal.
The work conveys the story of Genesis in a very different, rhythmic and surprising way. The inspiration for the work was taken from the secrets of Kabbalah that Adam and Eve were connected back to back in heaven, until they tasted the forbidden fruit and only then did their bodies separate. Special music for the show combines the drums with flute melodies, Balafon and string, alongside the drums in the powerful rhythms of West Africa. Specially designed elegant costumes, a cultural experience that works on all the senses.
2017-2019 “African Witchcraft”
An original dance piece that penetrates the world of African mysticism, which is intriguing in a very expressive way. The work reveals the theme of the dybbuk and expulsion of demons as done in Africa with drums, an Auto suggestive work on the subject of expulsion of fears, expulsion of diseases, etc. African dance – modern and live music that moves between magical and quiet melodies and drum beats in powerful rhythms of West Africa.
The work was premiered at Suzanne Dellal Center as part of the 2017 Hot Dance Festival on 25.7.17, the work was also performed on 17.8.17 at Inbal Dance Theater, at Beit Hayotzer house – Tel Aviv Port 20.1.18, 16.7.18 Inbal Dance Theater, 1.3.19 at Beit Hayotzer
2020 – “Africa in the Golden Cut”
The work is a combination of metaphysical geometry in dance, new ideas on an ancient subject that for many is fascinating and full of secrets and revelations A rational explanation of the connection between matter and mind, between matter and property and between thought and reality. Transformations that break down old connections and activate new connections with original and surprising ideas.