Gansango Music & Dance draws on the stunning talent of a multicultural group of international dancers and musicians presenting traditional and contemporary dance and music from West Africa. The company is directed by Etienne Cakpo, originally from Benin and now a teacher and choreographer based in Seattle, Washington. Gansango company collaborating artists perform regularly in the Seattle area, nationally and internationally for audiences of all ages.
Recent performance highlights include:
- Commissioned show at Giant Magnet Festival in Seattle (May 2010)
- Tour of five cities in Colombia, South America (August 2009)
- Tour of “Kaleta” performance for children to Miami, Philadelphia and Long Island (2004-5)
- Imagination Celebration at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. (May 2004)
Gansango performances fuse music and movement from across the African continent, drawing heavily from the dance and music traditions of Benin, Senegal and South Africa, among other countries. Instruction and shows often feature traditional dance from Benin, including Vodoun ritualistic dances, regional social ceremony dances, such as the Chenkoumé dance from Savalou, and royal historical dances such as the Zehli dance from the late 1800’s.
Live kora (21-string harp), djembe (drum), djun-djun (drum) and percussion accompany modern dance arrangements based on traditional movement and rhythms while costumes from West Africa provide color and cultural context for Gansango’s dance shows.