Dancer / Choreographer / Educator/"Dancethropologist"
Christa “Fatoumata” Sylla has been a cultural arts educator sharing cultural dance with the Jacksonville community for over 17 years. Since 2015, she has been an adjunct faculty member at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts (DA) as the World Dance instructor. Ms. Sylla has taught master classes at DA, Lavilla School of the Arts. Florida State College of Jacksonville, Florida Ballet, and Jacksonville University. She has been an instructor and choreographer for Jacksonville Centre of the arts since 2005. August 2020 she joined the staff of Creative Leaders at Jacksonville Arts and Music School. (JAMS)
As the director, a dance instructor, and choreographer for Nan Nkama Pan-African Drum and Dance Ensemble (formally known as Culture Moves 101), Ms. Sylla has received notoriety for her passionate personality, cultural and historically based repertoire, and emotionally charged choreography. She wrote and directed Mande! The Evolution, a dance production based on the history and travels of Afro-movement through the African diaspora. She has served as the choreographer for the local musical, Majigeen, since its debut in 2005, and as a choreographer for The Golden Nutcracker since its inaugural debut in 2017. In 2018 Ms. Sylla’s choreography piece, Awon Omo Shango, was selected for the Duval County Public Schools district wide event, Celebration of the Arts.
In 2016 Ms. Sylla was featured on the WJCT series, Hometown, about her work with women in the community that focuses on feminine sensual movements in African dance. That same year, she was the recipient of the 2016 Award of Recognition for Artistic Excellence from African Arts and Culture Jacksonville Inc.
In addition to continuing her studies with master instructors in the United States, Ms. Sylla has traveled to Guinea, West Africa; Jacmel, Port au Prince and Abricots, Haiti; and San Jose and Limon, Costa Rica for international dance exchanges. The experiences she had in these countries and her interactions with the people greatly influence her pedagogy. She refers to herself as a “Dancethropologist” to signify her commitment to educating on the cultural context of ethnic dances and not technique alone. Ms. Sylla's pedegogical approach is an exploration of "Africanisms" through music and dance and how they traveled through the Diaspora. Her commitment to cultural preservation earned her and Nan Nkama Pan-African Drum and Dance Ensemble recognition from the Florida Department of State’s Florida Folklife Program in 2019. Ms. Sylla and Nan Nkama are officially documented as folk artists dedicated to historical conservation through the arts.
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.”
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