Souleymane “Solo” Badolo, former artist in residence at the now defunct Dance New Amsterdam, reflects on how DNA helped him grow as an artist and gives an inside look at his new work in progress.
More than a dance studio, Dance New Amsterdam (DNA) was like a family to Souleymane “Solo” Badolo. When he decided to officially move to the United States in 2009, it was DNA that sponsored him so he could get the visa he needed to stay in the country. Before that, he had already established his own dance company in native country, Burkina Faso. He came to the states so he could share his dance with more people.
Badolo’s ability to move like water, that would make any break dancer envious, caught the eye of Catherine Peila, Executive/Artistic Director of DNA. She invited him to develop his solo work at DNA. He happily accepted. This meant he had a place to rehearse, a place develop new work, and could be a part of the New York City dance world. He presented work during APAP (Association of Performing Art’s Presenters), an annual performing arts conference that takes place in New York City at the beginning of every year.
Since then, he’s received a Bessie award, one of the most prestigious awards in dance and now has a two year residency with the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Arts Center on Governor’s Island.
Most recently, Badolo presented a work-in-progress at Building 110, LMCC’s Arts Center on Governor’s Island. His completed piece will be presented by Danspace Project Jan. 13-15, 2014.
Right now we in the Governor, Governor's Island. I got this award, residency, with uh LMCC for two years. Uh supporting my work.
For artists, you need quiet space and you need time to think, and make your work.
I only want to dance, I only want to think, to be on studio, thinking, trying my ideas, dreaming. Getting crazy.
Before his current residency at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC), Solo was an artist in residence at Dance New Amsterdam (DNA).
After filing for bankruptcy, DNA closed its doors on Oct. 15th of this year.
And DNA was the first organization in New York State, in the United State to support my work and my thinking.
You know it's so difficult when you are performer you not making money for when you start out to have space and DNA was there always to support me and because I performed there, they sponsor my visa for one year and that helped me to be seen more.
As part of his residency with LMCC, Solo invited the public to view his work in progress at Building 110.
DNA helped me to be who I am. Where I am right now is uh DNA. I wouldn’t be established choreographer making my work around, around the country.
This piece is about the nature, about seeing yourself about, about how we can live, we could not live without this pollution, because the pollution is a so hard in changing the climate.
Fun fact: Fun fact: In French, Solo's native language, "appui" is something that helps support a person. In his case, he considers Dance New Amsterdam his “appui” A word he struggled to explain during our interview, but made much more sense after I looked up the definition. Thus I came up with the title, “Solo’s Appui.”