Le Ballet Dembaya
Le Ballet Dembaya is a professional West African drum and dance company based in Los Angeles, California. With Guinea being their primary country of study, they practice traditional percussive rhythms, typically played on djembe and dundun drums, accompanied by intricate, polyrhythmic dances from various regions throughout West Africa. In hopes of preserving a beautiful cultural tradition Dembaya’s members have dedicated themselves to studying and mastering this art, while exposing its powerful healing qualities.
Though they have been an official group only since 2015, the members of Le Ballet Dembaya have been drumming and dancing together since early childhood. Their parents are all among some of the first generation of people in Los Angeles to study, practice and celebrate the traditions of djembe music. So the artists in this company were raised together as brothers and sisters in this Los Angeles drum and dance community, and often gathered to practice the West African rhythms and movement. Little did they know that they would grow together to form Le Ballet Dembaya, which means “the dance of the family” in the Soussou language spoken in Guinea. This name was chosen to acknowledge the sibling-like bond between the company members, to acknowledge their parents and elders whose footsteps they are following in, and to acknowledge their ancestors whom they honor each time they practice or perform this beautiful art form. Le Ballet Dembaya hopes to use this as a tool for education, healing, and empowerment in greater Los Angeles.