When Birds Refused to Fly
“Steeped in social relevance.”
— The Pittsburgh Post Gazette, 2011
Award-winning musician, dancer, and choreographer Olivier Tarpaga makes his highly-anticipated Crossing the Line debut with the New York premiere of his joyful and deeply personal work, When Birds Refused to Fly.
Set to a powerful soundtrack by Tarpaga’s father’s band, Super Volta—combining traditional sounds from Burkina Faso and driving contemporary rhythms—the piece compares the hope of independence movements across Sub-Saharan Africa in the 60s to the painful fight for Civil Rights in the United States.
Currently a lecturer at the Lewis Center for the Arts and director of the African Music Ensemble at Princeton, Tarpaga has invited four visiting Burkinabe dancers from Ouagadougou to perform When Birds Refused to Fly.
75 min approx
Tickets start at $15
View Production Credits
Concept, Artistic Direction and Choreography: Olivier Tarpaga
Performers: Salamata Kobré, Jean Robert Kiki Koudogbo, Stéphane Michael Nana, Abdoul Aziz Zoundi
Dramaturg: Aristide Tarnagda
Lighting Design and Technical Director: Cyril Givort
Set and Prop Concept: Olivier Tarpaga in collaboration with V. Mitch McEwen
Architectural Concept and Design: V. Mitch McEwen
Additional Set Design: Sada Dao
Sound Design: Yvan Talbot
Video Design : Tiziana Manfredi
Costume Design: Martial Yeo
Rehearsal Director: Ousséni Dabaré
Project Managers: Francois Bouda (Burkina Faso), Anna Drozdowski (USA)
Oye Ka Bara Kignan, Fanta Wonderful and Johnny by Amadou Traoré dit Ballake et L’Orchestre
Super Volta de la capitale
Yele by Amadou Traoré dit Ballake
A Son Magni by Abdoulaye Cissé et L’Orchestre Super Volta de la capitale
La Guitare de Tinga by Désiré Traoré et L’Orchestre Super Volta de la capitale
Father Otis by Tô Finley et L’Orchestre Super Volta de la capital
Wënd Mondé by L’Orchestre Super Volta de la capital
In Together by Olivier Tarpaga and Boubacar Djiga,
Goodbye by Olivier Tarpaga and Seydou Koita
Boussanga by Yvan Talbot
And Still I Rise by Maya Angelou
Production: Baker & Tarpaga Dance Project
Co-production: Kelly Strayhorn Theater, Denison University, Choreography Development Center (CDC la Termitiere) in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
Tour Partners: Kelly Strayhorn Theater (Pittsburgh), FIAF (French Institute Alliance Française, New York), Lewis Center for the Arts (Princeton University), Biennale Charleroi Danse (Charleroi, Belgium), Michael Eisner Center for the Performing Arts (Denison University, OH), Mahaney Center for the Arts (Middlebury College, VT), Festival International Dialogue de Corps (Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso), Haba na Haba Dance Festival (Dar Es Salam, Tanzania), IN-OUT Dance Festival (Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso).
Special thanks to Seydou Boro, Salia Sanou, Bienvenue Bazie, Serge Aime Coulibaly, and Esther Baker-Tarpaga
The presentation of When Birds Refused to Fly was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project, with leading funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
When Birds Refused to Fly © Géry Barbot