World Arts West
SF Ethnic Dance Festival


Khaley Adouna African Dance & Drum with Domou Africa

DIRECTORS: Danielle DeLane, Oumou D. Faye
First appearance in SF EDF: 2016

Khaley Adouna African Dance & Drum is a collective of performing artists based in the East Bay, formed in 2006 to further promote cultural arts by creating opportunities for independent artists to collectively share their talents with the Bay Area community. The company performs for audiences and conducts dance and drum workshops, also supporting and promoting touring artists and their events while in the Bay Area. The artists of Khaley Adouna are accomplished men and women of all shapes, sizes, and ages, bringing a diverse range of skill to the stage and community.


GENRE: Traditional (Toucouleur)
TITLE: Wango
DANCERS: LaTashia Bell, Sennie Clark, Danielle DeLane, Oumou D. Faye, Darian LaFoucade, Dedeh LaFoucade, Nikka Maynard, Diene Sagna, Christopher Scott, Sherice Tyler
MUSICIANS: Mbor Faye (djembe), Ousmane Gueye (sabar), Samba Guisse (djun-djun, tama)

Wango is from the Toucouleur tribe living in Fouta Toro in the Senegal River Valley of Northern Senegal and Southern Mauritania. They call themselves “Haapulaar’en,” meaning: “those who speak pulaar,” the first language of the Fula people. The Toucouleur live in many parts of Western Africa. They are Islamic and have close-knit patriarchal communities, so courtship and marriage have long been a formal arrangement between families. This presentation of Wango honored Toucouleur marriage beliefs and practices—with celebratory dance and drum.

This dance represents events over several days of a traditional wedding. The men have validated the marriage at the mosque. The bride’s mother and aunt have confirmed her virginity, and she is taken to her new husband’s home, where the families celebrate. The female relatives of the bride play with her and tease her, to congratulate her on entering a new stage of life. Relatives and friends dance solos and finally the bride dances, affirming she is chaste. Families gather to witness the washing of the bride’s bedclothes from her first night of marriage.

Wango is a high-energy dance particular to this ethnic group. Dancers open their arms and hands wide, and they move from left to right, forward and backwards, as if giving and receiving gifts of fabrics, shea butter, soaps, and kola nuts. The costumes showcase the tribe’s bright and unique fashions—the famous Toucouleur gold earrings, hair adornments, and indigo-dyed clothing. The women’s facial markings represent traditional tattooing and scarring designs.

Throughout the dance, one hears the prominent sabar drum that is always present in Senegalese dance. It’s joined by three other drums: djembe, djoun-djoun, and tama.

The piece was created in 2015 by Oumou D. Faye and Danielle DeLane. Oumou was born in Senegal and performed with Ballet Sinemew and Ballet Bakh Yaye, and was trained in Toucouleur dance tradition. Danielle learned Toucouleur dance from Naomi Diouf, Mariama Basse, and Idy Ciss: she recently traveled to Senegal, and chose this piece to display the variety, beauty, and grace of the Toucouleur people.

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