Keita Fodeba was born on January 19, 1921 in Siguiri, Republic of Guinea. After completing his primary education in Conakry, he attended the William Ponti Institute in Dakar, Senegal, where he graduated with a degree in teaching in 1944. After teaching high school in Senegal, he moved to Paris and studied theater and dance and founded the African Theatre of Keita Fodeba. Several years later the company became known as Les Ballets Africans of Keita Fodeba.
The first performance of Les Ballets Africains was staged at the Theatre Etoile de Paris in November of 1952. As a result of the shows success, the company toured France for a couple of years following the premier. In 1955, Keita brought the company to West Africa and toured extensively. Keita was chosen by Guineas former presided, Ahmed Sedkou Toure to be the Minster of the Interior Guinea. He was later chosen to be the Head of Defense and Security during Guineas struggle for independence. In 1965, he was arrested and was killed while in prison.
Keith Fodebas legacy will forever be remembered as the pioneering teacher who connected West African culture to the rest of the world through stories, rhythm, dance & music.
HAMIDOU BANGOURA – Artistic Director
Hamidou Bangoura was born in Conakry on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 1941, into a family of nine children. Hamidou received his primary education at Sandervalia in Conakry. In 1954 he attended the Souma Mangue school for African Dance and Choreography where he graduated with high honors. Hamidou then studied at the African Dance and Choreography school of Keita Fodeba, the founder of Les Ballets Africans.
Hamidou worked as Assistant Artistic Director of Les Ballets Africans from 1970 to 1980 and the General Manager from 1980 to 1988. Hamidou has been the Artistic Director for over twenty five years and his productions have been touring worldwide.
Honors and recognition:
– la medaille d’honneur du travail de la Republique de Guinee (work honor medal) in 1967
– les palmes academiques d’or de la republique de Guinee (gold academic palms) in 2008
– l’ordre national du Kolatier (national order of the Kolatier) in 2011
1965 keys to the city of cleveland
1967 work honor medal of the Republic of Guinea
1968 gold medal olympic games of Mexico
1972 merit medal of Kingston (Jamaica)
1972: keys to the city of santiago (chili)
1972: gord medal for best artist in Zaire
1973 keys to the city of Newark (USA)
1982 keys to the city of Lannion (France)
1983 silver medal from the oujda fair (Morocco)
1984 honor diploma from the olympic games in Los Sngeles (USA)
1985 keys to the city of Nantes (France)
1990 crown of the festival des sacres, Reims (France)
1991 citizen of honor Dallas (USA)
1991 keys to the city of COlumbus (USA)
1991 citizen of honor Ohio state (USA)
1991 keys to the city of New Orleans (USA)
1993 honor diploma at the 20th festival of cultures Gannat (France)
2004 award of international culture patrimony in Los Angeles (USA)