La Pileuse dives deep into the origins of rhythm and dance. This art of entering in communion with the elements instead of resisting them, of neither enduring nor dominating them; this art of renewal that can transcend the laborious; La Pileuse takes stock of all this and represents a mine of movements, sounds and philosophical reflections in what is ultimately an intimate encounter with the African woman. La Pileuse is Sarah Elola’s second solo piece. It draws upon African traditions, and more specifically those of Oulo and Boromissi – villages in Burkina Faso where the dancer and choreographer spent her childhood.

In Africa, dance is an extension of life and daily activities. There are many times when music and dance are born of repeated gestures, like those women who gather around a single mortar to ground together.  They labour at this for long hours striking their pestles in the mortars at one moment, throwing them in the air and clapping before catching them at another, each showing off more and more elaborate feats, punctuating their movements with shouts, words or melodies, all organized rhythmically in an intricate symphony.

Here is an art of resilience and renewal so fruitful it gives rise to a whole repertory of rhythms, songs and dances specific to each village. With a surfeit of gestures, signs, and postures, La Pileuse – Sarah Elola’s second major solo creation – takes equal stock of the human capacity for transcendence and creation.

Through the MAI’s Mentorship Program, La Pileuse has benefited from financial support provided by the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec and the Ville de Montréal under the agreement on the cultural development of Montreal 2017-18.


Sarah Elola – original idea, research, creation, performance
Ismaël Mouaraki – Artistic counsellor
Rhodnie Désir – Outside eye
Jeimy Oviedo – Rehearsal director
Karine Gauthier – Lighting designer
Stacyann Lee – Official Photos
Adrian Morillo – Show Photos
Parker Mah – music composition & production, video production and capture
Hendrik Huth – Set design (box)
Mélanie Ferrero – Costume