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'Fietan du Burkina', the dance troupe empowering the deaf

2024   -  
Copyright © africanews

Ivory Coast

The perfectly synchronized movements of six dancers from Compagnie Fientan amaze audiences at MASA -Abijan Market for Performing Arts. Yet all the dancers are have varying degrees of hearing impairment. The name of the Fientan company means "Without Handicap" in the Dioula language.

Founded by choreographer Yaya Sanou in 2018 in Bobo Diouasso, Burkina Faso, within the association "Art au-delà du Handicap", the group brings together young people with hearing disabilities like Oumar Sanou, who has already been dancing with Yaya Sanou for eight years.

“Whe**n I was little, being deaf, I saw hearing people dancing, but deaf people dancing, I had never seen. And today, since I dance as a deaf person, I'm able to travel a lot through what I do”**** says**Sanou.

**“**Generally speaking, deaf people don't have the chance to do this, and I've never seen it. Through dance, I manage to find a lot of friends, I meet a lot of people and I see that I can succeed through this profession”

The show, entitled "Adapte mon être" (Adapt my being), is a kind of demand for the rights of all those living with a disability. In many African societies, disabled people do not have the same opportunities.

“The song "Adapte mon être" (Adapt my being) is based on their story, and in fact it's their story. We tried to export their story to the stage, and through this show, young people are militating to reclaim the place that society has taken away from them” Yaya Sanou, the group's founder said.

**”**They're trying to find a place for themselves in an artistic career through this show”

Yaya Sanou began working with the hearing impaired in 2006. Over time, he developed a method he calls "Vibra Signe". It's based on sign language, vibration, gaze, touch and also the relationship with the ground.

“Every intention, every dance variation, every movement, everything is signed, everything is signed“

For Aicha Coulibaly, who has been dancing with Yaya Sanou since the age of 14, dance gives a sense of life

“I love dancing! And when I dance, I'm able to free myself and I have a positive feeling about life, so it encourages me to dance to live better”.

Acclaimed at MASA and the Jeux de la Francophonie in Kinshasa, the Fientan company is preparing its first European tour in 2024/2025.

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