Christa “Fatoumata” Sylla has been sharing the joy of cultural dance with the Jacksonville, Florida community for over 13 years. As the director of Culture Moves 101/Nan Nkama Pan-African Drum and Dance Ensemble, and instructor and choreographer for Jacksonville Centre of the Arts, Cathedral Arts Project and more, Christa has received notoriety for her warm and passionate personality and innovative choreography. Since living in Jacksonville, Florida she has studied under and performed with several companies including Lajo Theatre of African and Caribbean Dance and the Nia Dance Ensemble. In 2003, she founded Culture Moves 101 and began teaching community classes. Christa has been invited by Lavilla School of the Arts, Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, and Florida State College of Jacksonville to teach master classes for the dance departments, and as of November 2015, joined the adjunct faculty of Douglas Anderson as a World Dance instructor. In late 2007, she traveled to Guinea, West Africa to study with directors and performers of internationally renowned companies Gbassikolo and Ballet Djoliba. It was in Guinea that she was given the name “Fatoumata”. Christa also served as choreographer for the musical Majigeen which made its debut at Boomtown Theatre in 2005.
Christa wrote and directed Mande!: The Evolution from Barefeet to Blue Jeans in 2005. Mande! made its debut in 2006 at Boomtown Subterranea. In 2007, the company received a grant to perform the production at University of North Florida. Mande! The Evolution celebrated 10 years at Lavilla School of the Arts in 2016 with an updated script which included more styles of afrodance and diverse choreography.
Christa’s dance skills have been featured in numerous music and instruction videos including “Chasing Rainbows” by King Britt, and “Tinkanyi 5 & 6” with master instructor Moustapha Bangoura. In summer 2014, Christa used her years of experience as a group fitness instructor to design and launch the Afroconic™ Booty Dance Workout, a dance fitness class based on traditional and contemporary “sensual” dances from Africa.
I think it is 'sinful' for lack of a better word, not to use what you have been given. Our talents do not belong to us, they are for sharing and for inspiring others. Our reward is how we feel doing it.”
Professional Experience: (selective)
KING BRITT'S CHASING RAINBOWS/ SUMMER 2013
Music video for Philadephia DJ and musician, King Britt from the EP Fholston Paradigm featuring apocalyptic themes.
LOBO MARINO'S "RAINBOW TIPI" / SUMMER 2014
Independent music duo Lobo Marino's tribute to nature on an ambient track. Directed by Keagan Anfuso.
DUNIA MAGAZINE INTERVIEW / JANUARY 2015
"Jacksonville resident Christa 'Fatoumata' Sylla talks Guinea, Haiti and Dance as an expression of culture."
NEWS4JAX INTERVIEW MANDE! THE EVOLUTION / SPRING 2016
Promotional interview for the 10-year anniversary of original production Mande! The Evolution.
THE CHAT INTERVIEW MANDE! THE EVOLUTION / SPRING 2016
Promotional interview for 10-year anniversary of original production Mande! The Evolution with local talk show, The Chat.
FOLIO WEEKLY "OUR PICKS" / SPRING 2016
Local publication write-up on Mande! The Evolution.
WJCT'S HOMETOWN FEATURE / SUMMER 2016
Feature and interview on local program, Hometown, regarding dance as as an expression of womanhood and spirituality.
THE CHAT INTERVIEW AND PERFORMANCE / FEBRUARY 2017
Interview and performance by Nan Nkama Pan-African Drum and Dance Ensemble on local talk show, The Chat.
10 QUESTIONS WITH NAN NKAMA... / FEBRUARY 2017
Interview and feature by the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville