Dance teacher and choreographer aims to use his 46 years of experience in dance
to bring people together and share his culture
“My mission is to make you smile, to make you happy, because when you dance you need to be happy.”
As a life mission, Moustapha Bangoura’s is hard to argue with. He is a dance teacher and choreographer and has been making people happy across the world throughout his career.
From April 28 to May 1, he brought his talents to Seoul to try to further his mission in Korea through his workshop titled “Camp Fode Siwoo.” During this event, he held a talk show and also taught drums and dance to the residents of Korea’s capital.
Luckily for the attendees of his workshop, he has a wealth of 46 years dance experience to pass on at his show.
Moustapha took his first steps, presumably in a more graceful way than most, into the world of dance at the age of 13 in his home of Conakry, the capital city of Guinea. He started performing soon after.
His dance career really took off when, in 1975, he joined “Les Ballets Africains”. “Les Ballets Africains” is the national dance company of Guinea and since its formation, it has traveled throughout the world bringing the dance and culture of Guinea to the countries it visits.
Moustapha stayed with them for 22 years and during this time he was able to travel extensively. He naturally built up a large knowledge of dance and he also learned how satisfying it was to make people happy and share his culture with them.
“I traveled with Les Ballets Africains two times around the world to teach African dance. So now it’s my pleasure to introduce this dance I learned from Les Ballets Africa to the world.”
After leaving the dance company he became an ambassador for Guinea and through this work, he was able to continue to teach people about Guinea’s culture and spread smiles throughout the world.
He still performs in his role as an ambassador and it is a job that he is proud of and that still keeps him smiling every day.
“I am so proud to be an ambassador for my country, especially in relation to dance. For me, my mission is to take Africa everywhere […] anywhere I go I take my country to those people. I share what I have from my country, share my culture to the world.”
His experience of traveling and dancing in different cultures has given him a unique perspective on life and he is especially interested in the idea of togetherness. Something he feels can be brought by dance.
“The world has to be together, it is better to be together. When we are together, life is peaceful […] When we are together there is no color, no sex, no religion, and my mission is to be happy and to make people together.”
This philosophy has influenced the way he dances and teaches dance and in fact, the name of his group in Chicago, “Won Na Won Malang,” is the Guinean phrase for “Let’s get together.”
“We have to be together, I try to put people together with what we have. I make you happy when you dance.”
When Moustapha dances, it is hard not to be taken in by his energy and clear passion for what he is doing. Really, it seems like he is doing quite well in his life mission to make people happy.