New Haven Ballet is excited to announce that esteemed dancer and teacher, Aly Tatchöl Camara, will be joining New Haven Ballet faculty for the summer to teach West African Dance.
Mr. Tatchöl was born in Dansy, a small village in Guinea, West Africa. Dansy is part of the Boffa region. (The popular dances/rhythms Sorsorne and Kaki Lambe originate from the Baga people of the Boffa region.)
Mr. Tatchöl’s grandparents adopted him when he was three, and moved to the village of Kouffin. By the time he was six years old, he was already learning folklore (traditional) dancing and drumming as a part of every day village life. (He recalls his first experience with the drum was playing an empty bottle that was open on both ends, and then covered with plastic, secured by elastic.) Mr. Tatchöl learned traditional folkloric dancing and drumming as he grew up in Kouffin.
In 1978, he moved to the village Kasmar, which is in the Boke region. In Kasmar, he continued to follow his passion for dance, honing his skills in the art of “street dance”, learning acrobatics and eventually teaching the folkloric dances of his home region.
In 1984, Mr. Tatchöl was spotted by a representative of the renowned Les Ballet Dougouffissa and asked to join the company. (Les Ballet Dougouffissa’s reputation for traditional dance is such that even world famous Les Ballet Africains studies with them.) His was quick to learn new choreography and soon began to coach and choreograph for the other dancers. “Once I realized that I was a teacher and a choreographer, I knew I needed to share these traditions with the world.”
He later joined and toured with Ballet Variety and Ballet Unite Africa in Senegal. His international break came when he was chosen to join Les Ballets Bougarabou in 1993. The company toured the United States and Canada performing at major world music and folklore festivals and teaching workshops and classes. (Among its note worthy North American appearances, Ballet Bougarabou has performed for special events at the United Nations.) Later, Mr. Tatchöl began teaching children and adult classes at the Bernice Johnson Cultural Arts Center and the Fareta School of Dance and Drum in New York.
In 1995, he became the principal dance instructor for Connecticut’s New Haven School of African Dance and Drum. He continues to teach in the area’s public and private school systems, at regional workshops as well as at Yale University. Kouffin Kanecke, his New Haven based company, is presently enchanting audiences with his unique productions and artistic vision.
I love to teach people my traditional dance and drum. I’m excited to see their enthusiasm and interest as they learn about my culture!
In anticipation of releasing our first videos from the 2021 Spring Performance, we celebrate the talent of Max Holman. Mr. Holman composed and performed the music for The Children’s Ballet especially for New Haven Ballet.
Some may recall Mr. Holman as a former beloved New Haven Ballet accompanist. Today, he is a Boston-based keyboardist, conductor, improviser, and educator. His recent work includes composing the music for Brimmer and May School’s 2021 spring musical, where he teaches middle and high school music and chorus, as well as performing on harpsichord in J.S. Bach’s first four Brandenburg Concertos with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra in March 2021. An avid ballet accompanist, Max has collaborated with New Haven Ballet, American Repertory Ballet and Princeton Ballet School, Mason Gross School of the Arts, and Todd Rosenlieb Dance. He received his bachelor’s in music education from Rutgers University and his master’s in choral conducting from the Yale School of Music and Yale Institute of Sacred Music.
Thank you, Max Holman, for the beautiful score. We look forward to sharing videos through New Haven Ballet’s YouTube channel featuring dancers performing The Children’s Ballet soon.