Biographies

 

Byb Chanel Bibene
Bibene is a choreographer and performer working in theater and contemporary dance. His own technical and aesthetic sensibility is rooted in the culture and dances of his country of origin, the Republic of Congo. He has toured the world and performed internationally with companies originating from Africa, England, France and the USA. In 2006, Bibene co-founded Li-Sangha dance company, whose work Mona Mambu received two laurels and the 3rd Place award at Les Rencontres chorégraphiques de l’Afrique et de l’Océan indien, and likewise won the Radio France Internationale Dance Prize for 2006. Artistic Director of Kiandanda Dance Theater, Bibene launched Mbongui Square in 2012, a multidisciplinary arts event that gathers artists from the Bay Area and around the world sharing stories, arts and talent. Outside of his professional careers of Theater and Dance, Bibene owns a Bachelor in Science, Economics/Finance and has a passion for writing. He is the author of numerous collections of poetry, prose and drama. In 2002 he received the first prize for new works of French literature in a contest sponsored by the French Cultural Center of Brazzaville. Please visit www.kiandanda-dance.com, for more info.

Krystal Bates
Krystal Bates is an innovative dancer striving to make a difference in the dance community. Bates has been involved in pieces dealing with life issues such as economic crises, AIDS, gang violence, PTSD, and much more. While dancing and touring in college, she also was able to do other things like teaching, acting, modeling, and work in corporate America.

Latanya D Tigner
Performer. Latanya performs professionally with Dimensions Dance Theater, traveling nationally and internationally. She studies various African Diasporic dance forms in addition to contemporary and jazz. Latanya holds a B.A. in PE/Dance and a M.A. in Arts Administration, coordinates Dimensions’ Rites of Passage program, and directs Dimensions Extensions Performance Ensemble.

Afia-Fareeda Thompson
Received her acclaim 20 years ago in West African Dance and has since performed nationally and internationally in other genres such as jazz, hip-hop, lindy hop, freestyle, and modern dance. She is constantly refining her skills and versatility as a performer, through yearly conferences, workshops and performances. Ms. Thompson has been exposed to dance, drama, and musical theatre, adding a more finished touch to her skill level. She has taught classes in the Oakland community for 10 years, to professional dancers and dance enthusiast ranging from 5 to 65 years of age. Ms. Thompson is a performer who skills go beyond the dance arena. Afia Thompson and daughter Nafi Watson-Thompson founded Bahiya Movement in 2011. As directors, the dynamic mother/daughter duo fuse hip-hop, jazz, modern, and African dance to create an electrifying, energetic movement that stands above the rest.

Rashidi Omari
Rashidi has been performing, choreographing, teaching and directing since 1993. He specializes in B-boying (breakdancing), locking, popping, hip-hop, dancehall, house, Lindy-Hop, and other urban and partner dance styles. He has performed locally and nationally with hip hop and modern dance companies such as Liberation Dance Theater, Starchild Dance Collective, and Ase West Dance and Theater Collective.

Kiazi Malonga
Kiazi is one of the next generation’s most skilled and talented Ngoma players. With over 20 years of drum training and experience, his awesome skill and performance style has inspired many. His parents, Malonga Casquelourd and Jeannie Ishman Brown, were instrumental in establishing the presence of Congolese culture in America. A graduate of Stanford University, Kiazi was formerly lead drummer of Ballet Kizingu Youth Ensemble and currently serves as Musical Director of Fua Dia Congo. He is featured on several Congolese percussion CDs, including Massengo and Mvoula.
 
Kiazi teaches Congolese ngoma drumming every Sunday at the Malonga Center in Oakland, CA, and is the lead drummer for many of the Congolese dance classes held there. He also teaches intensive intermediate and advanced drumming classes at the Congolese Dance & Drum Workshops.

Ernest Jolly
Video and Set Designer. Ernest Jolly is a MFA Studio Art Graduate at Mills College. He has studied and taught at Mills College Art Museum, Tihany International Post Graduate Program in Budapest, and Contra Costa College. He is the set designer and visual director for the Taboo and Heroes Project.

Chris Evans
Musician. Chris is a multidisciplinary artist with an emphasis on sound, video and dance. Her interest is in interdisciplinary collaboration and improvisation and the potential for these collaborations to create artistic spaces for the play of imagination between artist and audience. Recent performances include DEEPER, Lizz Roman Dancers, So I Married Abraham Lincoln, Paufve Dance, Nzoto Installation, Kiandanda Dance Theater.