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Central Africa Contours Dance

Jolie Ngemi at Bosangani Festival [Kinshasa]

Bosangani Festival

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The Bosangani festival is a relatively new platform that aims to stimulate and support the contemporary dance scene in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The third edition will take place in Kinshasa from 25 September to 1 October 2023 and will include public performances and workshops, as well as promote exchange between Congolese and international artists to initiate collaborative work.

The artistic director of the festival is Jolie Ngemi, a Congolese choreographer and dancer based in Switzerland. Jolie will be presenting a solo improvisation based on trance. After losing members of her family, she became interested in trance in dance, as a way of freeing the imagination. Initially used to express dark feelings, she then discovered a way of expressing clearer, happier feelings as well. In 2022 Jolie undertook tandem research trips in DRC and South Africa to deepen her knowledge of traditional rituals. Together with Jeremy Nedd as co-choreographer, she created the piece “Nkisi” around this theme, and continues to explore this mode of inspiration in her workshops and improvisations. For Bosangani 2023, Jolie will also host a workshop during which she will guide participants through a creation process using elements of trans.


Jolie Ngemi is a dancer, choreographer and musician who lives in Switzerland and works throughout Europe (Belgium, France, etc.). Born in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo in 1989, she obtained the Diploma (Baccalaureate), 2006-2007 in literary option. She obtained other diplomas and certificates in the artistic field and has been working professionally as an artist since 2007. Jolie started dancing at the Protestant church in Kinshasa. As a teenager, she practiced urban dance. At the age of 17 she met the choreographer Jacques Bana Yanga with whom she studied contemporary dance. In 2008, she began the creation of the show “Mist” by choreographer Thomas Steyeart, and toured the creation in Africa and Europe. In 2011, she collaborated with Ula Sickle and Yann Leguay for a solo called “Jolie”, created in South Korea (Seoul) and toured in Belgium, France, Holland, Poland, Vienna. In 2012 Jolie was invited to the U.S.A. to represent women at the “New-York live arts” festival. In 2013 she auditioned at P.A.R.T.S. in Brussels where she trained for two years. Following this, she was spotted by the choreographer Boris Charmatz and they went on to produce two shows: “Danse de nuit” – the first one about the history of Charlie Hebdo, and “10.000 gestes” which toured in France, Brussels, London, Germany, Switzerland, etc. Since then, Jolie has started her own work based on voice, texts and body in space. In 2018, she created a solo “Identity na ngayi” at the festival la Bâtie in Geneva. This show has been presented in Basel, Brussels, Utrecht. In the show “Indentity na ngayi” she becomes a spokesperson for the community that does not dare to speak, a project that gives voice to women of the world. In 2019 Jolie made several performances outside Brussels and at the cultural center Tictac, with travelling performances accompanied by workshops. Early 2020, she was taken on as a teacher at the Academy of Amsterdam. In the same year, in April, she realized a new creation with Serge Coulibaly called “Wakat” with 10 dancers. Also in 2020 Jolie create her company AUC Production, which gave birth to the festival BOSANGANI in Kinshasa. The first edition took place in 2021, and Jolie was able to gather more than 33 dancers around masterclasses, dialogues and debates to share her knowledge with the artists of her home country.

[Image: Arnaud Beelen]