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.

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