Africa Direct - First Dance Steps / A Legacy

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Two compelling short documentaries from leading African filmmakers, one from Mali and another from Rwanda. ‘First Dance Steps: Don Sen Folo’ by filmmaker Ousmane Zoromé Samassékou takes us into the creative world of a Malian contemporary dance company as they take inspiration from ancient ancestral moves for their modern choreography. Lassina Koné is a dancer, choreographer and the artistic director of Don Sen Folo (meaning ‘first dance steps’) who is committed to raising the profile of dance as a profession in Mali. He and his dance company travel to Bancoumana village where they meet tribal leaders, learn the traditional dance of the Donso hunters and integrate old and new moves for a local performance. This creative journey between ancient and modern artistry reveals aspects of Malian society rarely seen beyond its borders.
Hairdresser Minani Saleh is reviving Rwanda’s Amasunzu hairstyle, an eye-catching traditional style of extraordinary shapes, crests and partings. The style was worn as a form of identity in pre-colonial times, with each Amasunzu style communicating information and telling its own story. The tradition died out during colonial times but its making a comeback and Minani is an expert stylist. ‘A Legacy’ by filmmaker Mutiganda Wa Nkunda takes us into Minani’s salon where he shapes and shaves patiently and relates the history of this unique look – a man dedicated to protecting this legacy for generations to come.

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