I was born in 1989 in France. My father is Cameroonian, and my mother is French. At the age of 9, I started my first lessons of modern jazz dance and classical dance.
From 2004 to 2006, I studied at the Conservatoire de Bordeaux as well as with Alain Gonotey Cie Lullaby. In 2007, I turned, particularly, towards contemporary dance and joined choreographic artists course in Centre National de Danse Contemporaine in Angers (CNDC) supervised by Emmanuelle Huynh. At the same time, I kept on with my literary studies at Université Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle until 2014, where I got my master’s degree in Modern Literature.
As a performer, I have worked with choreographers from various aesthetics: Emmanuelle Huynh (Cribles, Augures) and Alain Buffard (Tout va bien), Raphaëlle Delaunay (Bitter Sugar), Fanny de Chaillé (Passage à l’acte), Gaël Sesboüé (Grammes), Éléonore Didier (Moi, mes copines, à l’instant où ça s’arrête), Anne Collod (Le parlement des Invisibles), Herman Diephuis (Clan ; Mix), Nina Santès (Hymen Hymne ; République Zombie).
Nonetheless, this experience is mainly influenced by my encounter and collaboration with Marlene Monteiro Freitas. (D’ivoire et chair, les statues souffrent aussi ; Bacchantes, prélude pour une purge ; Mal Embriaguez Divina).
In 2016, I joined Lola Gatt Association. Since then, I have created the following pieces: Madame (2016), Mascarades (2020), Lessons of Darkness (2022) and I am working on my next projects.
Mami Wata is a goddess of water, a figure from the depths of night, of power and sexuality. A stranded mermaid who faces people watching her.
The jump that goes through her is a vertical jump, a regular one. The Latin word to say « to dance » is saltare, from saltus, « the jump ». Creating dance from jumps as a persistence of an ancient gesture – perhaps universal ? – a movement from the depths of a human being. Jump as a metaphor of desire, a search for pleasure. A desire of pleasure. A desire for other, a desire for another, for what we do note have, for what we are not.
Jump to exult. Jump to expel. Jump to endure. Jump to resist. Jump to reach. Jump to become. Jump to die. Jump to exist.
In Lessons of Darkness, four bodies become the mouthpieces of stories that have been forgotten or wiped out. They are straddled by forces that bind them together and shake their chests. They inflate and deflate, give blows, endure the impacts.
These people dig with their bodies curved, bent over until the invisible emerges. They transform and metamorphose themselves sometimes until they disappear. In turn, they challenge, testify, help, protect, support and make visions appear.
They have fears to share, images to blur, masks to assemble, fires to summon…
« Lessons of Darkness » is a liturgical musical genre of the XVIIth century that puts to music extracts of the Lamentations of Jeremiah text on the destruction of Jerusalem. It is also the title of a film directed by Werner Herzog in 1992 about the burning of 732 oil wells by Iraqi forces withdrawing from Kuwait. In it, the director presents a vision of apocalypse as a long poem about the end of the Earth.
Betty Tchomanga’s Lessons of Darkness summon missing persons, ancestors, ghosts. They speak of Darkness and from Darkness, to explore the obscure, our hidden and buried stories.