DUBAI: Africa’s heartbeat could be heard – and felt – at Expo 2020’s Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre earlier this week as Bakalama Senegal made their debut performance in Dubai, with an energetic show revolving around traditional Senegalese songs and dances.
Now in its 49th year, having been passed down the generations of one family, the Bakalama style of dance represents unity and rootedness in the Diola culture. Pushing dance rhythms to breakneck speed with gravity-defying jumping, elevated running men, and a good deal of shaking and shimmering, to a soundtrack of drums and singing, audience members from around the world were enraptured by the spirited performance.
Speaking animatedly after the show, Bakalama Senegal choreographer and performer Khadymalal Badji, who has been a pivotal part of the troupe since the age of 17, said that it’s exciting to showcase her country’s culture at Expo 2020 while getting to know new people and different ways of life.
Khadymalal Badji said, “As artists, it is so important to share cultures with different people. I have travelled to many countries with the show – Kuwait, USA, Belgium, Spain – and now we get to perform for 192 countries at Expo. The story is about different Senegalese traditions and rituals and I want people to experience this.”
Badou Beye, Producer, Bakalama Senegal, said, “It’s very exciting to be here. This is an international exposition, which will provide many opportunities for the Bakalama performers. It will open up traditional Senegalese music and dance to the rest of the world. It’s wonderful!”
Bakalama Senegal will be performing nightly shows until 16 October. Entry is free for Expo 2020 ticket holders.