Zab Maboungou, who is of French and Congolese origin, is the artistic director of Zab Maboungou / Compagnie Danse Nyata Nyata, founded in 1987 and based in Montreal, Quebec. Maboungou began developing her craft in early childhood through contact with traditional dance and music groups in Congo-Brazzaville. She has worked with African dance masters including Lucky Zébila (Congo/France) and Babatunde Olatundji (Nigeria/USA). As a performer and choreographer, she has integrated a variety of traditional forms from Central, West, and East Africa.
Maboungou’s more than twenty solo and ensemble works—which include Réverdanse (1995), Incantation (1997), Gestes Dé/libérés (2009), and Montréal by Night (2010)—have been presented on stages in Asia, Africa, Europe, and America—including Canada, the United States, Korea, Italy, Germany, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Congo, Zimbabwe, and Mexico. Her original dance technique, called LOKETO, draws on the rhythmic foundations of African dances and musical forms. Considered a dance pioneer in Canada, Maboungou has received honors at Dance Immersion and the International Association of Blacks in Dance Annual Conference in Toronto (2003, 2011), and received the 2013 Charles Biddle award for exceptional individuals who immigrated to Quebec and have contributed to Quebec's cultural and artistic development on the national or international level. In 2014, she will receive the Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Achievement Award in recognition of her body of work, bestowed by Montreal’s Black Theatre Workshop. Maboungou has also made an important contribution to dance in Africa. From 1995-2002, by invitation of The Minister of Culture of Ivory Coast, she was an artistic consultant at MASA, a festival supporting the creation and production of African performing arts. In 1997, she co-directed and facilitated the first large-scale Pan African French language choreographic workshop. She received tributes from The Ministry of Culture of Cameroon in 1997 and 2010. Also in 2010, Maboungou was honored during Kriye Bode’s 5th Annual Colloquium on Haitian Dance & Drum at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Maboungou is a professor of philosophy at Collège Montmorency in Laval, Quebec, where she was honored last year. She is the author of several articles on dance and the book HEYA Dance ! : poetic, didactics and history of African dance (2005). She is a sought-after intellectual public speaker at cultural institutions and universities. Her speaking engagements have included the keynote address at Harvard University African Affairs Committee’s conference African Dance Diaspora: A symposium on Embodied knowledge.