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)

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.