Traditional African art forms like music, dance and visual arts are not practised in isolation as they often are in the west. They form a rich network of oral histories passed down from generation to generation. The music and dance are inextricably linked, and African prints used to make the brightly-coloured costumes worn for special events contain symbols conveying messages relating to important life events such as marriages, births and the transition from childhood to adulthood.
I have spent many years dividing my time between London and Gambia. After returning from an inspiring 6 months living in Gambia, I started to teach and perform in London and in 2006 set up my own company - to promote performance and education programmes in West African performing and visual arts.
*Mbilla is the name I gave my company - a Wolof word from Gambia meaning antelope - nimble and quick with its acrobatic moves, embodying the spirit of the dancer, and is always ready to move with confidence when danger is near.