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Quianna Simpson

Quianna's Headshot Photo

Quianna Simpson



316 Sullivant Hall
1813 N High St
Columbus OH 43210

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Areas of Expertise

  • Traditional/Neo-Traditional African Dance


  • Norfolk State University BFA Speech Pathology/Audiology
  • The Ohio State University MFA Dance/Interdisciplinary Studies

Quianna began her dance studies of traditional West African dance, music, and culture with Thiossane Institute under the tutelage of Abdou and Suzan Bradford-Kounta. College represented a time of branching out into other dance forms. She invested in modern, jazz, hip-hop, and lyrical techniques. During and after college, she worked in the commercial sector and was successfully selected to open for heavy hitters like P. Diddy, and Usher. She was then hired full-time to be a backup dancer for the R&B group Blackstreet. After her successful tour, she returned to Columbus, taking on various roles to support the dance company. In 2022 she was named the first Assistant Artistic Director of Thiossane Institute. Her passion for the traditions of Africa and the African American experience adds to her artistic values that she hopes to make more visible in the company’s repertoire. She has been able to further her research interest in the intersectionality of traditional African dance, the African American experience, and the social development of youth during her MFA journey allowing her to present her research at conferences such as the Collegium of African Diaspora Dance and The Hayes Forum. She was also accepted to present her choreography at White Wave’s Solo/Duo Festival at Dixon Place in New York 2022.  Quianna is known as a “community dancer,” participating in many local events, education outreach, and mentor programming. For her continued work in the community, Quianna was nominated to compete for the Artist Elevated Award, a professional artist grant provided by the Greater Columbus Arts Council. She won, becoming one of the inaugural recipients of this unprecedented award in 2021. Since she has been honored to travel to Africa Bi-annually to learn, study, and continually find joy in her dance. In 2023 Quianna graduated from The Ohio State University with an MFA in Dance with a specialization in Interdisciplinary Studies, which notes her time spent in the Theatre Department and ideation in mulitmedia art presentations.  She is a mother of two fun-loving teens and enjoys cultivating a nurturing and cultured environment for them to learn and grow.