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

Thiossane

Meet Lori Conner

Name? Lori Conner

What city are you from? Youngstown, Ohio

When did you join Thiossane?

Started in community classes in 2003; joined the company circa 2006

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

Fun, family, spirit, therapy… The rehearsals are very therapeutic for me. You can become one with the dance and with the music, and it offers a sense of release from whatever I might be experiencing outside of Thiossane. Read more

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

She Makes It Beautiful Features Suzan Bradford Kounta

“I wanted to create a career from my passion. I am fueled when I can provide or create opportunities that allow people to grow through their creativity.” –Suzan Bradford-Kounta

The Phoenix Rising Collective (PRC) provides self-esteem education that inspires and empowers personal growth and change in the lives of women and girls through self-development workshops, holistic health and wellness events, and personal empowerment coaching. Suzan Bradford-Kounta was featured in the publication’s She Makes It Beautiful series. Read the full article here.

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.