Djeneba Sako

Born in Bamako, Mali, Djeneba Sako began her journey with dance and music at the young age of 5.  Her family put a lot of importance on her education, but to her father’s dismay, she was often skipping class to follow the rhythmic sounds of drumming that floated through the the streets of the city, and would go dance for the drummers.  When she was 10, her father once again plead for her to continue her education so she would one day find a good job.  It was at this moment that Djeneba recognized her passion and love for dancing, and declared that dancing was her job.


She started dancing professionally at age 11 with the Bienal District Troupe. She danced with them for eight years, during which time they won the National biannual Dance Competition four times in a row. From there she went to the District of Bamako troupe, representing the city of Bamako, where she danced for eight years. With this group she traveled to Paris for the Paris International Dance Festival, which featured the best of ethnic dance from all over the world. She then joined the renowned traditional dance group Troupe Komi Djosse. The troupe disbanded after two years, after which she joined the Troupe Kantis featuring renowned djembefola Mamadou Kante. She has also worked with such artists as Djenebah Seck, Nanou Koul, Abdoulaye Diabate, Molubaly Traore, and Karim Coulibaly. Djeneba has also taught students who come to Mali from all over the world to learn with her. She is now known as one of the best dancers of traditional and modern Malian forms in Mali

In 1998 a friend from the University of Colorado in Boulder started talking to her about coming to the US.  He helped her with all the paperwork, and by July 2002 she had officially arrived.  She is now one of only three Malian dance teachers here in the US, of which she is the only woman.  Alongside her work at the University, she is often traveling and teaching at conferences around the states, sharing the culture of Mali through music, song, and dance.

To participate in her upcoming workshop in Asheville, North Carolina on April 26 through the 30th, 2010 please click here and you will be redirected to the official registration page for the workshop!

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