Irene Tassembedo


Irene Tassembedo

Irene Tassembedo settled in Europe in the early 1980s, where she developed a completely new approach to African dance.  Her broad training, personal fortitude and remarkable energy have enabled her to steadily develop original choreography utilizing traditional African and contemporary modern dance.


She relies heavily on traditional Burkinabe motifs — both visual and choreographic — to examine the rituals of trance as a source for finding one’s equilibrium. In a recent interview with “Journal de L’ARC,” she cited tradition as the essence of her identity and as her constant source of inspiration. Live drumming and polycentric movements with intensive use of the shoulders and upper back characterize the prominent features of West African folk dance, and Tassembedo doesn’t depart much from these traits except to use the floor from time to time.


Her contemporary approach lies not in the movement itself, but in its application to modern situations that fall outside the traditional purpose of long established ceremonies. Tassembedo also employs a multi-cultural cast of dancers, emphasizing that her work is not simply “African.”



In close contact with the African continent, as well as with Europe and the United States, Miss Tassembedo manages three careers simultaneously: as a well-respected teacher of African dance, an accomplished theater and film actress and artistic director and choreographer of Compagnie Ebene, which she founded in 1988.  With Compagnie Ebene, she has produced Fusion, Diminoida, Ade and Yenenga, which received critical acclaim in Paris in 1992, at MASA (African Performing Arts Market of Abidjan) in 1993 and at the Cultural Olympiad’s Celebrate Africa! festival in 1994.  She collaborated with the Atlanta-based Ballethnic Dance Company and choreographed the world premiere of “Trouble” for the 1996 Olympic Arts Festival.


The sucess of her work has resulted in several tours in Africa, Asia, Europe and the United States, establishing her as an internationally recognized choreographer.

She recently established the Ecole de Danse Internationale in Burkina Faso.


Ecole de Danse internationale Irène Tassembédo

Ecole de Danse Internationale Irène Tassembédo

02 BP 5217 Ouagadougou 02 – BURKINA FASO, Tél : +226 50 43 50 06 / +226 70 00 10 51

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