Meet Kevin Seals

Name? Kevin Seals

What city are you from? Columbus, Ohio

When did you join Thiossane?

Originally started with ABCDE at age 12, then returned in 2009 after going to college

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

West African culture – its music, dance, and food. Then I would have to say family. Read more

Meet Najiyyah Muqtasid-Denham

Name? Najiyyah Muqtasid-Denham

What city are you from? Brooklyn, NY by way of North Carolina

When did you join Thiossane?

Original member

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

Abdou Kounta comes to mind because he embodied Thiossane. Abdou Kounta wanted Thiossane to be a unique experience for everyone who joined and that has translated into the Institute over time. Read more

Meet Quianna Simpson

Name? Quianna Simpson

What city are you from? Columbus, Ohio

When did you join Thiossane?

Original member; began with the company at age seven

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

When I think of Thiossane, I think of family, community, togetherness, respect, and all the great makings of a quality life. I can’t imagine my life without Thiossane. I don’t think I would be as happy dancing somewhere else. Read more

Thiossane Drummers

Meet Carlton Pope

Name? Carlton Pope

What city are you from? Columbus, Ohio

When did you join Thiossane?

Originally started with ABCDE, then became an original member of Thiossane Institute

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

I think of the lineage of the [Diasporic] culture itself and bridging the gaps between known history and lost history. Thiossane teaches us about the roots and richness of culture. Just like a tree, its story doesn’t start from the ground – it starts from the roots. Read more

My First Thiossane Performance

Like many American citizens with African ancestry, I have (at least) an indirect connection with the region of West Africa. Whether historic, symbolic, or current, my cultural heritage echoes the crashing waters of the shores, the sensory stimuli of the interior, and the enduring legacy of the people. As a child I learned traditional dance forms – ballet, tap, gymnastics, lyric – and so I felt I had a connection to the Thiossane West African Dance Institute. Nothing was further from the truth and nothing, still, could have prepared me for the brilliance I was to witness. Read more

Heart of Africa

As the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium conducted research in developing the components of the new Heart of Africa exhibit, Programming Staff contacted the Thiossane Institute to inquire about our education programs and how the exhibit and the Institute could forge a partnership. After a year of creating the program, Thiossane Institute became the education and entertainment component for the Heart of Africa exhibit and we would serve in that capacity for the next three years.

From the outset we proved invaluable to the exhibit and its attendees. Thiossane edu-tainment included three daily performances every weekend between May and September, building both our audience and Heart of Africa exhibit programming. Thiossane Institute performed for special guest request and Zoo events. This collaboration is, in part, the catalyst for a partnership between the Zoo and Thiossane for our 15th anniversary benefit concert.

The Big Give

Support Thiossane with The Big Give!


September 17-18, Thiossane Institute  will join The Columbus Foundation in The Big Give.

Over the past 13 years, we have used the disciplines of traditional  performing arts as a vehicle to introduce, enhance and encourage social and cultural awareness and development, as we present and preserve this art form. Help us to continue serving young people as we represent the diversity of our city  by giving generously to the Institute through The Big Give. The Columbus Foundation will maximize your gift from a pool of $1 million in funds.

It’s simple!

Visit The Columbus Foundation website ( between 11 am on Tuesday, September 17, and 11 am on Wednesday, September 18.

Select Thiossane Institute  from the list of qualifying non-profits.

Donate using a major credit card with a minimum donation of $20. Columbus Foundation donors can also make a grant (minimum of $100) through their Donor Advised Fund

For more information about Thiossane Institute visit our Power Philanthropy Portrait.

Thank you for your support!

The Big Give is a dynamic community-wide opportunity to support hundreds of nonprofits working to strengthen and improve our community. Utilizing the Foundation’s online marketplace, PowerPhilanthropy®, you can show your spirit by giving to one or more of 600 central Ohio nonprofits during The Big Give.


  1. Starting on Tuesday, September 17 at 11:00 a.m. EST, visit
  2. Make a minimum credit card gift of $20 using a major credit card (VISA, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express) to the eligible nonprofit(s) of your choice that are part of PowerPhilanthropy®. If you are a Columbus Foundation donor, you can make a grant to the nonprofit of your choice using your Donor Advised Fund or Supporting Foundation, with a minimum of $100.
  3. Everyone making a donation will receive an e-mail confirming receipt of their donation.
  4. Donations, once made, cannot be rescinded.
  5. The bonus pool percentage ratio and preliminary results will be posted on on Monday, September 23.

QUESTIONS? Contact us at or call 614/251-4000.

Fall 2013 Performances

Fall 2013 Performances


September 28, 2013 4:45-5:45pm

Springfield Arts Council

Main Stage, Downtown Springfield

[one_third]The Graham School[/one_third][two_third_last]

September 28, 2013

Graham School Presentation



October 2, 2013 5:30-5:45pm

PGA President’s Cup at the Columbus Downtown Commons for the International Festival of the Opening Ceremonies



November 9, 2014

Children Community Class Recital



November 14- 16, 2013

World Music Summit in Collaboration with City Music, King Arts Complex featuring Sing Sing Family – West African Drum Orchestra



November 17, 2013

International Dance and Drum workshop, Lincoln Ballroom (TBA)


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