Co-founder and Artistic Director of Thiossane West African Dance Institute Suzan Bradford Kounta is a dancer, instructor and choreographer of traditional West African Dance. In spring 2018, Ohio State Dance students had the privilege of opting for Kounta’s traditional West African class for their movement practice in lieu of ballet. The class offered students an in depth understanding of the musicality, techniques and relevance of traditional West African dance as it relates to authentic movement and its influences in other dance forms. Accomplished musicians of this traditional art form Jesse “Krate” Jackson and Kevin Seals accompanied each class for a full and rich experience. The curriculum included rhythms and techniques from the countries of Mali, Senegal and Guinea.
Bradford was also commissioned by the department to choreograph a piece for the 2018 Brazil Tour Group, titled Tiriba, which featured traditional drumming by Kevin Seals mixed and mastered by DJ Krate Digga. “Tiriba is a traditional dance form from Guinea West Africa that celebrates the successes achieved from life’s challenges,” says Kounta. “Its blend of Caribbean flavors of both dance and music acknowledges the migration of musicality through the use of traditional instruments. The music travels all the way from Guinea to the Caribbean, intertwining with the variety of movements and techniques being performed by the dancers onstage. Their costumes recreate traditional West African styles to complement their techniques, flavor and fun.”