Image description: Muisi-kongo Malonga, an African woman with deep brown skin and dimples. She is pictured in front of a background of green leaves and is smiling. Her hair is braided and styled into a crown. She is wearing a silver chain with a cowrie shell pendant and gold teardrop earrings with an orange stone. Her top is a multi-colored African-print blouse with midnight blue, sea green and light peach-colored motifs. Photo: Bethanie Hines.
Tamien Nation/Ohlone/Ramaytush/Muwekma; East Palo Alto, CA
Muisi-kongo Malonga is a dancer and culture bearer whose arts practice is steeped in a staunch Bay Area legacy of cultural preservation, social justice, and service through art. She is one of the foremost keepers of Congolese dance traditions in the U.S., and is dedicated to preserving culture and cultivating the healing power of African arts traditions. As Artistic Director of Fua Dia Congo, Muisi-kongo continues the pioneering cultural preservation work begun in 1977 by her parents, Malonga Casquelourd (Founder/Director) and Dr. Faye McNair-Knox (Dancer/Founding Member). As founder of grassroots arts presenting organization BottleTree Culture, she seeks to reanimate the presence of African cultural arts as healer and change agent in her native East Palo Alto, CA.
While she is passionate about serving in the above roles, at her core, Muisi-kongo is a gifted dancemaker who aims to transmit the sacred, translate the ancient and create works that are anchored in tradition. She has received numerous awards and professional honors including a 2017-18 Emerging Arts Professional Fellowship, several posts as Guest Lecturer in Stanford University’s Theater and Performance Studies Department (Dance Division) and a 2014 commissioning of her original solo work Kimpa Vita!
This season, Muisi-kongo’s projects include two world premieres, Congo Dance A Nairobi Blues, a site-specific dance-theater production and Lufuki! an international dance collaboration. She also offers ongoing arts programming in partnership with the City of East Palo Alto and weekly Congolese Dance classes at the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts in Oakland, CA.
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