When artist Mariette Rasoarinala was 14, she was given the stage name Bakomanga—from “bako,” meaning song or voice, and “manga,” meaning beautiful art. Now, as a dancer and choreographer, she gives the same title to her company of 17 artists, dancers, and musicians. Masters of Madagascar’s “hiragasy” song, Bakomanga is known for its colorful dance and live music performances, drawing on traditional rhythms and choreographies from the Imerina, Antandroy, Betsileo, and a host of other Malagasy tribes.
Under Rasoarinala’s direction, Bakomanga has performed in Japan, France, La Reunion, and Gabon. This year’s DanceAfrica festival marks the group’s North American debut.