Co-Founder and Director, CDDW
Visionary master artist and cultural arts pioneer Malonga Casquelourd founded the Congolese Dance & Drum Workshop (CDDW) in 1979 with the purpose of preserving and promoting in-depth study of Central African culture. An advocate of cross-cultural exchange and bridge building, Malonga established CDDW and several other institutions for all people to explore the rich history, philosophy and culture of Central Africa.
Malonga Casquelourd was a distinguished African choreographer, dancer, master drummer, singer, actor and teacher. He was a principal dancer of the National Congolese Dance Company from 1965-68 after several years of apprenticeship as a child protege at Community Fetes, which are indigenous Congolese centers of learning, devoted to proper assimilation of the younger generations into the cultural traditions of society. As a member of the National Congolese Dance Company, he toured and performed in Africa, Europe, Asia and North America.
In 1969, Malonga moved to Europe as a resident choreographer and principal performer with Le Ballet Diaboua, a rare and privileged Congolese repertory company resident in Paris, France. From this base, he led Le Ballet Diaboua in three successful annual performance and touring seasons (1969-71) introducing some rich dance artistry of the Congo and other Central African countries to the European concert-stage.
In 1972, he came to the United States and co-founded Tanawa, the first Central African dance company in the U.S., while concurrently pursuing a distinguished career as a faculty member of several institutions of higher learning at the East Coast. These institutions include Hunters College, New York (1973-74) Clark Center For the Performing Arts, New York (1973-76) York College, Queens, N.Y. (1975), New York University (1974-75) and New Jersey State University (1974-75).
In 1976, he moved to California and taught at Stanford University (1977-79), San Diego State University (1980) and San Francisco State University (1977-82).
In 1977, he founded Fua Dia Congo, an African repertory company dedicated to broadening access to the knowledge about Africa's rich cultural heritage across the United States, Canada and Europe. As the company's director, choreographer and principal performer, he has led in many ground breaking performances at major venues in the United States. These include several seasons at the nationally known San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival at Herbst Theater, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C., a sold-out season at the world-class Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, and several seasons at the largest African cultural arts extravaganzas in the United States: The African Cultural Festival, Calvin Simmons Theater, Oakland and Harambee African Festival, Houston, Texas.
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