• Sabar
Genre : Musical
Type : Fiction
Original title :
Principal country concerned : Column : Cinema/tv
Format : Feature
Running time : 105 (in minutes)

An African American hip-hop girl resists the ancestral call of the Senegalese dance "Sabar". When she finally gives in, she discovers more than a dance-she finds herself.

Aisha, a beautiful Black woman in her early twenties has never given African dance any serious thought. She grew up dancing Jazz, modern and ballet and sees African dance as informal and outside of "real dance", an opinion her best friend Fatima who has been dancing sabar for five years hopes to change one day. Fatima finally convinces her to enroll in a sabar dance class. Aisha's soul is stirred by the dance, her body responds to the drums in ways that defy explanation; from the first day she showed up at the class, she knew she had found her spirit. The two friends thus begin a journey into the world of sabar dance and culture that would change their lives forever.

Oakland, California is the venue for the next sabar congress where sabar dancers, drummers, instructors and fans from all corners of the globe converge for the dance-off and the crowning of the next Queen of Sabar. From Chicago to Mexico, New York to Paris, dancers, choreographers and drummers are in full preparation.

There is tension in air as dance instructors drive their students into full gear with hopes of producing the next Queen of Sabar. Though one of the newest dancers in the class, Aisha begins to show great promise and very quickly becomes Oakland's only chance of having a shot at the crown. Even Aziz, the military style sabar instructor starts to pay special attention to her, praying and hoping that she stays focused and disciplined. But life has a way of dealing all of us cards that will test our will and Aisha's cards were waiting in the wings. Her mom dies of cancer and in a letter reveals a deep disturbing secret to her. Her boyfriend leaves her because sabar was taking her away all the time and two days before the Dance-off she is hit by a car.

Sabar is a movie that unfolds with the typical color of an African folk tale. The characters are rich, very convincing and subtly drawn. It is a movie that explores human relationships and its dynamics woven within the context of the Sabar dance movement in the United States. The music and dance become characters and drive the pace and rhythm of the story.

The Sabar dances of Senegal can be studied as a contemporary form of artistic expression and dancers appreciated for their skills, their technique, and creative imagination. But each movement carries in itself the weight of history, goes back to ancestral times when women invented the first rhythms as they brought down the pestle in the mortar in a regular, constant fashion; the times when the first Sabar drum was handed down to humans by gods or the times when drums were carrying messages and children were taught about their culture in Sabar ceremonies.

Sabar - the movie like the dance is bound to appeal to a wide range of audiences. The story is one of faith, hope, love and courage.

the cast
The role of AISHA is played by: Bunmi DeRosario
The role of FATIMA is played by: Kenesha Mayfield
The role of MARTIN is played by: Curtis Campbell
The role of GERALD is played by: David Ali
The role of RAMATU is played by: Naomi Diouf
The role of AZIZ is played by: Alassane Kane
The role of AUNT LESLIE is played by: Kathleen Rand Reed
The role of ROBERTA is played by: Ellen Foster Randle
The role of BINTA is played by: Ndéye Guèye
The Television News Reporter is played by Briana Swann
The WAITRESS is played by: Danika Heartt

Marguette Sow, Idrissa Gueye, Cheikh M'Baye, Abdoul M'Baye, Dame Gueye

the crew
Film Director - Chike C Nwoffiah
Director of photography - Jeff Wager
Screenplay writer - Cash Nwachukwu
Producer - O A Braddy
Associate Producer - Tumani Onabiyi
Editors - Delphine Suter, Jeff Wager
Line Producer - Tomas
1st Assistant Camera Operator - Fabienne
Sound Guy - Peter
Gaffer - Drew
Make-up Artist - Tara Lawrence
Production Assistant - Alex

$210,000 (estimated)

Filming locations
New York, USA
Oakland, California, USA
San Jose, California, USA

Production Company
Rhesus Media Group


  • Arterial network
  • Media, Sports and Entertainment Group (MSE)
  • Gens de la Caraïbe
  • Groupe 30 Afrique
  • Alliance Française VANUATU
  • Zimbabwe : Culture Fund Of Zimbabwe Trust
  • RDC : Groupe TACCEMS
  • Rwanda : Positive Production
  • Togo : Kadam Kadam
  • Niger : ONG Culture Art Humanité
  • Collectif 2004 Images
  • Africultures Burkina-Faso
  • Bénincultures / Editions Plurielles
  • Africiné
  • Afrilivres

With the support of