Kiandanda Dance Theater
(USA / Republic of Congo)

Taboo and Heroes

(World Premiere)

Thur. May 21 8:00pm
Sat. May 23 9:00pm
Sat. May 30 5:30pm
Fleet Room
Tickets: $20-$25 General Admission


Presented by Kiandanda Dance Theater and SFIAF (duration 60 minutes)


Dancers’ Group fiscally sponsors Taboo and Heroes. Taboo and Heroes is made possible in part through the generous support of the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation, Zellerbach Family Foundation and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, CounterPulse, the San Francisco Arts Commission, UC Berkeley, CSUS Sacramento, all individuals who have donated and supported the project.


Taboo and Heroes explores the situation of the wars that struck the Republic of Congo in the late 1990’s in a multimedia performance featuring modern and traditional dance, interactive video design and live contemporary music. Taboo and Heroes addresses the reality and consequences of violence and corruption through the specific experiences of Byb Chanel Bibene. Bringing together dance and theater performers, an original music score, set design and video elements, the piece aims to transport the audience into the charged atmosphere of conflict that permeated, and still echoes in everyday life in the Republic of Congo.


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 and choreographers originating from Africa, Europe 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 Danse l’Afrique Danse, and likewise won the RFI Dance Prize. Artistic Director of Kiandanda Dance Theater, Bibene launched Mbongui Square in 2012, a multidisciplinary arts event. Outside of his professional careers of Theater and Dance, Bibene owns a Bachelor in Science, Economics/Finance and has a passion for writing.

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.. Ms. Thompson is a performer who skills go beyond the dance arena. Afia Thompson and daughter Nafi Watson-Thompson founded Bahiya Movement in 2011.

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.

Rocssy Mahania

Master drummer and percussionist from the Republic of Congo, Mr Mahania started professional drumming in 1995 with Les Tambours de Brazza directed by Emile Biayenda. Shorlty after he joined Africa Tambour and later Le Musee d’Art where he worked as lead drummer and served as co-director along side with Gikel Mampouya aka Akramo. A decade later, Mahania joined Ngoma Za Kongo directed by Loanard Baniekona. He subsequently performed and toured worldwide in Morocco, Senegal, in the Middle East, Italy, USA. After relocating to the USA in 2013, Mahania has taught several workshops in East Coast and West Coast.

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

Blaise Elembe

An accomplished DJ, drummer & sound artist Elembe Blaise, has had the opportunity to travel and play music all over the world. With a vast catalog of music specializing in African, world, reggae, roots/dance hall, bhangra, salsa, reggatone, funk and soul, jazz and hip hop DJ Elembe has the ability to seamlessly mix all genres of music bringing crowds to the dance floor.

Nafi Watson-Thompson

Began dancing at the tender age of three with Spelman College’s youth dance program in Atlanta, GA.   She is a well- rounded performer/ choreographer and studied West African with Diamano Coura West African Dance Company and Hip-Hop, Modern Jazz, and Ballet with Dimensions Dance Theater’s Rites of Passage program. She has worked with talented professional as Dawn James, Latanya D. Tigner, Corey Action, Traci Bartlow, Carla Service and many more fabulous choreographers.

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