Wilfried Souly

Wilfried Souly, photo: Robyn Nisbet

Wilfried Souly is a choreographer, dancer, drummer and Taekwondo expert, originally from Burkina Faso in West Africa. He was trained in African traditional and contemporary dances since his youngest age in the acclaimed company “The Bourgeon du Burkina.” In September 2000, he co-founded “Compagnie Tâ” with two other choreographers and co-choreographed many dance pieces presented around the world, including one work that was selected as a finalist at the fifth Choreographic Encounters of Africa and Indian Ocean in Madagascar. The piece was then presented at the Great Barbican Center in London for a full week event. Compagnie Tâ also collaborated with an association of visual artists on Genies de la Bastille, Paris. Willy himself has collaborated with international choreographers and performed in works such as Space i Tiempo, choreographed by Robert Battle (USA) and Gerardo Delgado (Mexico) in Tampico, Mexico; and Dole Danle, with the French Hip-Hop Company E.Go, directed by Eric Mezzino and Gilles Schamber. In 2007, Willy moved to Los Angeles and joined Baker & Tarpaga Dance Project as an Associate Director, where he co-choreographed and performed Arbre D’Adaptation (2007), which won the Best Choreography award at “Emerging Above Ground 07”; Sira Kan (2008), presented at the NOW Festival 08; and “Dar Es Salaam” (2009).

Willy has collaborated with many local artists and companies, including Maria Gillespie (Exquisite Corps 2010), Victoria Marks (Smallest Gesture/Grandest frame; Medium big inefficient considerably imbalanced dance; Solar Duplex & Watch This), Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre Company (Governing Bodies; Expulsion; Governing Bodies Ventura; Cleopatra; Catch your Breath) and Viver Brasil Dance Company (Xire 2008). He choreographed and produced the dance film Bayiiri (Home Town) in 2011. In 2014, his solo “Saana/The foreigner” is premiered at the Redcat NOW Festival and the Ethna Negria Celebration at Teatro Balboa in Panama City May 2015. “Unarmed”, a piece about social injustice, was presented at the Barnsdall Theater, at “For Our Boys” first edition.

In August 2016 he created On Becoming, a quest for identity at 12th edition of NOW Festival. On October of the same year, his last two works Tekre (Evolution) and Maam /Me were presented at the third Edition of the festival Africa in America at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre. Willy is an Adjunct professor at the UCLA World Art & Culture/Dance Department since 2009 and has been guest choreographer at colleges including Santa Monica College, Los Angeles Valley College, Chadwick school… He teaches community West African Dance classes at Your Neighborhood Studio in Culver City, and has been an Arts Educator for the Fullerton School District since 2009. Willy is currently anMFA candidate at the UCLA World Arts & Cultures/Dance department.

The book that was mentioned was Vetiver by Librecht Baker.

“Unsung”, rehearsal at Centre de Development Chorégraphique in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Photo by Wilfried Souly
“Saana/The Foreigner”, NOW Festival at Redcat Theatre in Los Angeles. Photo: Steve Gunther
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