Marilyn M. Sylla

Five College Visiting Artist in Dance
Specialization: 
African, Brazilian and Haitian dance forms

Marilyn M. Sylla is Director of The Bamidele Dancers & Drummers and a Five College Dance Lecturer based at Smith College. She has studied African dance forms in Guinea, Senegal, the Gambia, the Casamance, Brazil, Haiti and Puerto Rico.

Since 1987 Sylla has taught and performed throughout the United States at venues including Jacobs Pillow, the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York and Kripalu Center for holistic health in Lee Mass. She has been in residence at Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama; Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY; and Ursinus College, in Collegeville, PA.

In addition, she has taught several times at the Bates College Dance Festival in Lewiston, Maine; for six years at Drika Overton's Portsmouth Percussive Dance Festival and is a teaching artist with the Sankofa Dance Project at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA. Sylla has also taught West African dance at the Universidade Federal da Bahia in Bahia, Brazil and completed a performing and teaching tour in Caguas, Guayama and Old San Juan, Puerto Rico in 2009.

Sylla studied Haitian Folkloric dance and taught West African dance in Port Au Prince, Haiti at the Ecole National Des Arts and in Mirebelais, Haiti at the Centre Cultural Alexandre Kenskoff. She has also performed at the Theatre Nationale' in Port-au-Prince, Haiti with Ballet Folklorique Tamboula DHaiti, Inc.

In 1998 she received an award from the University of Massachusetts for "Outstanding Support to Women of Color." In March 200, Sylla Marilyn received a "Finer Womanhood" Award from the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. at the UMass. Sylla is a board member of A Better Chance Program, in Amherst, MA.

Marilyn has been honored as a mentor to participate in the Senior Stoling Ceremony to honor graduates of color at Mt Holyoke College. She has twice been nominated for the WCFR Arts and Humanities Award for Outstanding Individual.