More Than Me Dance Collaboration, Liberia
In August 2013 Solo went to Liberia and was struck by the struggle the local artists are facing to maintain their traditional music and dance. While in Liberia he was introduced to the founder of More Than Me, an organization that focuses on getting young girls from one of the most vulnerable part of Monrovia off the street and into school. In the short time this organization has been in existence (since 2009) they have concentrated their energy on opening the More Than Me Academy, a school for over 200 girls. They raised money, revived and restored a bombed out building in the center of Monrovia, and prepared to open the doors in September 2013. To mark this momentous occasion a ceremony was planned for the grand opening. Katie Meyler, the founder and CEO of the organization, was looking for artists that could work with some of the girls and teach them traditional African dances to perform at the grand opening. Solo knew it would only be appropriate for the girls to learn their cultural dances, particularly in light of the disappearing tradtions, so he brought Liberian musicians and dancers on site to teach and choreograph traditional Liberian dance and song for the girls to perform. Weekly rehearsals, a field trip to the historical Providence Island Stage, and the procurement of costumes were involved to make the experience educational as well as special for the girls. On the day of the opening you could feel how excited and proud the girls were to represent their culture and to dance for their community. Their performance was highlighted by the attendance of Madame President Ellen Sirleaf- Johnson. (www.morethanme.org) Check out the video!
Watch Solo's video about the project!
Research and Documentation in Mali
Video coming Soon !!
In January 2014 Solo traveled to Kaye, a village in the southwestern region of Mali. Solo went to carry out research on Dansa, a dance of the Kakolo people, in order to learn more about the movements of the dance and their origins. In doing his research he consulted with Samoriba Magasa, the griot to the chief of the village in order to ensure the accuracy of the information. The knowledge he acquired from this trip was instrumental in understanding the specific execution needed for the traditional movements of the dance. Dedicated to the preservation of traditional dance, Solo is excited to share this information with his students.