Fatou the Choreographer
Native of Grand Dakar, a famous suburb in Dakar region, Fatou SAMB is an Artistic Director and Choreographer of Diome-Fa Dance Company.
She is also a dance teacher, a choreographer and an actress.
Passionate about choreography and dance, Fatou has always been interested in working in the creative sector but she was not confident enough to jump into it. However her encounter with the Beninese-Senegalese icon Germaine Acogny motivated her to join the profession.
In 1997 she joined the Sinomew Ballet to learn the different traditional Senegalese and African dances. She also worked with famous dance companies like “Ecole des Sables” and JIGEEN, and participated in contemporary dance training, teaching and pedagogy. Moreover, Fatou did some residencies with different choreographers and trainers. Finally, she integrated a famous local theatric group - Daaray Kocc - where she learnt acting. In 2009, she founded the international dance and cultural exchange festival NJAFANE and the dance company DIOME-FA.
Fatou’s decision to take part in the Creative Enterprise Programme was motivated by her previous experience with the British Council’s WAPI training Programme in 2008-2009, but also her strong desire to develop new skills and grow her business. Indeed, she encountered many issues in the creative sector, from implementing and funding projects to finding working space.
During the Creative Enterprise Programme training two tools specially caught her attention: the business pitch and the financial management booklet. While doing the exercises, she realized that she was not wisely planning her budget and that disadvantaged her a lot in her work. She also realized how important it was to communicate her vision to the right audience.
After the Creative Enterprise Programme training Fatou did a two-months residency in Mexico where she trained more than fifty creative students from Veracruz University and dance teachers from different towns (Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico City), in Senegalese traditional dance. During this experience, she was able to apply the tools learnt during the Creative Enterprise Programme, from the business pitch to find new partners to the management tools to better organize her work and her budget. As a result, her performance was very successful and she was invited to perform once again in Mexico.
Fatou has also organized the World Dance Day in Grand Dakar Area, which was the first time that this event took place in public, in Senegal. Again, the business pitch helped her to raise awareness about her work and to get funding from local authorities. During this event, she managed to gather thousands of people on the street and to attract local media. Now the World Dance Day has become a yearly event that she organizes on April, with the support of the local authorities and also the help of three Creative Enterprise Programme alumni she met during the training.
Fatou is currently working on the new projects with DIOME-FA and is preparing a new edition of NJAFANE festival.
The Creative Enterprise Programme training definitely helped her to be more creative but also to better manage her business and her creative projects.
The Creative Enterprise Programme was a real sharing experience for Fatou. As she said during her interview: “I learnt a lot from others and from the associates. I will definitely recommend it to anyone aspiring to gain experience and knowledge”.