Biza Sompa was born in the small city, Brazzaville, in the African Congo.  When I asked him, “when did you realize you wanted to pursue dance,” he exclaimed, he has always danced and always loved it.  The University of Michigan offered him a job when he was 35 and he has been working as a part-time dance professor ever since.  He formed a dance theater company in Ann Arbor, called Bichini Bia Congo of about 8-10 female dancers, and himself.  He serves as the teacher and mentor for these dancers.  I could tell how much they genuinely cared for each other, as they laughed, and had real expression and enthusiasm during their rehearsals.  I found it endearing that the dancers call Biza, Yaya, which means Big Brother in Lari, the Congolese language.  Biza makes sure they understand what each dance means, what the words are in the song, and why they are doing the dances.  It was great watching all the girls drum and dance at the same time; the expressions of sheer joy on their faces were priceless.

Biza’s dream is to give back something to the Congo.  He wants to teach people his experience by writing a book; a kind of memoir with the history of the Congolese and their dance.  He believes that he as a story to tell and wants to leave the world with a legacy.







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