Fatou Cissé
Fatou Cissé © Antoine Tempé

Fatou Cissé, a choreographer regularly supported by the Institut français

The body is a work of art that describes society and expresses its positive or negative aspects.

Choreographer and dancer-performer Fatou Cissé has been developing a body grammar that questions the place of women in society and its various aporias for almost two decades. This year she presented La ville en mouv'ment as part of the Dak'art festival, supported by the Institut français. 

Published on 06/07/2022

5 min

Fatou Cissé was born in Dakar, where she began her dance studies in 1989 at the Manhattan Dance School. A school directed by her father, Ousmane Noël Cissé, former director of the National Ballet of Senegal. In 1996, she joined the Guinean traditional dance ballet Bougarabou. She then participated in the creation of the ARTE company and the company's first show, Le Cimetière des masques (2001). After meeting the Congolese choreographer Andréya Ouamba, she joined his company as a performer. In 2012, she created Regarde-moi encore, a solo that questions the place of women, particularly in Senegalese society. This solo performance was supported by the Institut français' visa pour la création programme. This show, which toured Africa and Europe, made her known as one of the most popular choreographers in her field. In 2015, she created Bal du Cercle for the Avignon Festival, also with the support of the Institut français. 

For several years, Fatou Cissé has been developing a dance practice that questions the condition of women in an Africa torn between conformism and the desire for modernity. By her own admission, she is torn between her Muslim faith and her role as an artist, Fatou Cissé explores the porous borders of the body and the assignments to which women are subjected, without seeking to deliver an overly explicit message. In Regarde-moi encore (2012), she plays a woman who remains motionless for a long time before daring to move and take ownership of her body. However, Fatou Cissé does not want to use dance merely as a vehicle for a political message. For her, the language of the body is sufficient in itself and allows, without words, to "develop what we want to say or what cannot be said". 

Fatou Cissé recently presented the show La ville en mouv'ment at the Dak'art 2022 festival. This was a true return to her roots for the dancer who, although she has never left the city where she was born and where she lives, trained for a long time abroad before presenting her creations internationally. Since her show Le Bal du Cercle (2015), Fatou Cissé has attached great importance to the tradition of street parties, and in particular to the tanebeer ("night party" in Wolof). During these events, which are typical of the outskirts of Dakar, women can temporarily free themselves from their assigned place. A true carnival inversion that allows them to give free rein to their imagination by indulging in the joys of disguise without limits. 

  • 1994


    Studies at the school of Marianne Niox, a leading figure in Senegalese dance.

  • 2000


    Meets choreographer Andréya Ouamba, whose company she joins.

  • 2006


    Wins first prize at the Rencontres chorégraphiques de l'Afrique et de l'Océan Indien for her duet L'improvisé.

  • 2012


    Her second solo, Regarde-moi encore, causes a sensation.

  • 2015


    Le Bal du Cercle, presented at the Avignon Festival.

  • 2022


    La ville en mouv'ment, as part of the Dak'art festival.

The Institut français and the artist

With the support of the Institut français, Fatou Cissé presented La ville en mouv'ment as part of the Dak'art festival 2022. 

She also benefited from the support of the Institut français for to others shows : Regarde-moi encore and Le Bal du Cercle

L'institut français, LAB