Director Suzan Bradford Kounta: Ohio State Community Partner

Thiossane Institute’s director Ms. Suzan Bradford Kounta is a community partner for the Dance Department at The Ohio State University. Read about her accomplishments and see her new work set on OSU students and performed in Brazil.




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. (read more here)

Dances with My Father: Sat. Jan 27th, 3-6 pm

Class is Donation-Based!
Donate $10 or more and be entered in the raffle for
tee-shirts, bag, or free entry to class!

Fall Showcase November 18


The Big Give

Consider giving to Thiossane West African Dance Institute during Columbus Foundation’s BIG GIVE this year!

Fall Dance Workshop

Come dance with Thiossane Institute as we host 2 dance workshops with renowned Senegalese dancer Idy Ciss! Register here.

October 15th, 2-5 pm
Workshop 1 | 2:00pm
Workshop 2 | 3:30pm

1 hour workshop = $18 • 2 hour workshop = $30

Idy Ciss – Asst Artistic Director, MUNTU Dance Theatre of Chicago and renowned Senegalese  dancer, instructor, choreographer will facilitate two styles of dance in a 2  workshop on Sunday, October 15  2p – 5p  In addition, Thiossane will introduce Khady Badji, Member of the Bakalama Dance Company in Senegal West Africa. Accompanied by Medoune Yacine Gueye and Thiossane’s own drum orchestra.

Suzan Bradford Kounta: Interview with CityPulse

Read the latest interview with our founder and artistic director, Suzan Bradford Kounta here:

Interview by Jane D’Angelo, Executive Director of OhioDance

Suzan Bradford Kounta is a dancer, instructor and choreographer of traditional West African dance. She was an Adjunct Faculty member at Antioch College and Ohio State, and guest artist at Denison. She serves on the board of OhioDance, Ft. Hayes Advisory and the Near Eastside Roundtable. She is the first General Manager of the Lincoln Theater. Suzan is President of Thiossane Institute and Artistic Director of its West African Dance Company, since its inception in 2000 with her beloved husband, Abdou Kounta. Thiossane will perform a celebratory dance for the B.R.E.A.D. Festival of Arts and Community on Saturday, Oct. 21. They will provide instruction of authentic dance and music of West African Culture with audience participation.

Jane: Can you tell me something about the founding of Thiossane Institute?
Thiossane was founded in 2000 with my husband Abdou Kounta. He was a master drummer with the National Ballet du Senegal in West Africa. My role was to teach the educational and cultural enhancement of the African Diaspora. Our focus in the beginning was children and youth development training in African dance and music. We branched out to the adult population because of the desire from the community. We later started a performing company.

Jane: How has Thiossane evolved over the years?
Suzan: We currently have an outreach program in schools, after school programs and area colleges. We perform in Columbus, surrounding communities and throughout Ohio. In May of 2017 we travelled to perform at the Alvin Ailey Dance Center in New York City. Our company currently has 16 members; six drummers and 10 dancers.

(read more here…)

Adult Community Classes

We offer adult classes for all people at all levels o dance and drum. Thiossane tailor made this class for beginners to seasoned dancers. Whatever reason you want to move this class is for YOU! Every Tuesday, Sept 19 – Nov 15, 2017, 630p-8p, Lincoln Theatre Ballroom.


Thiossane West African Dance Institute Upcoming Performance, Workshops & Classes

All classes are held at the historical Lincoln Theatre 769 East Long Street, Columbus, Ohio. Enter via RED DOORS. On line and on site registration is available.

Community Outreach Classes

  • Children classes Ages 3-16 years, Saturday mornings Sept 23 – Nov 11, 2017
  • Adult classes Every Tuesday beginning Sept 19, 630p – 8p


  • Otterbein University Student Dance Workshop, September 22
  • Soar on Saturdays at BalletMet, Sept 30 230p – 330p


  • Springfield Cultural Arts Festival, Sept 23, 4p
  • Capriccio Choir Collaboration, October 1, 4p
  • YMCA/YUSA Conference, Oct 25, 530p Renaissance Hotel
  • YMCA/YUSA Conference, Oct 26, 830p, TBA
  • Annual Fall Showcase featuring Community Outreach and Collaboration programs, and new works of dance from TWADI, Nov 18, 630p, Lincoln Theatre

Meet NiaAdjowa Sheard

Name? NiaAdjowa Sheard

What city are you from? Columbus, Ohio

When did you join Thiossane?

Story has it, I’ve been dancing since being in the womb; but I officially started dancing at age one

When you think of Thiossane, what immediately comes to mind? What does Thiossane mean to you?

Support because there are lot of different families here. We’ve experienced death, marriage, divorce, children raised, and injuries and through all of that, we’ve been able to endure and support one another. When we lost our dad, no one was like, “That’s their family business; let me stay out of it.” The sentiment was, let’s go clean the house, let’s give the kids rides, let’s support the family. We felt completely supported by our Thiossane family. Read more

Meet Keisha Moorehead

Name? Keisha Moorehead

What city are you from? Columbus, Ohio

When did you join Thiossane?

Originally started with ABCDE, then returned after going to college

When you think of Thiossane, what immediately comes to mind? What does Thiossane mean to you?

I think of family and the fact that we strive to be traditional in everything that we do. We have supporters who have been with us since day one and who have become a part of the Thiossane family. Read more