What is Gansango?


Gansango Music & Dance presents traditional and contemporary dance and music from West Africa – drawing on the stunning talent of multicultural dancers and musicians.

Gansango is directed by Etienne Cakpo, originally from Benin and now a choreographer and teacher based in Seattle, Washington. Gansango company collaborating artists perform regularly in the Seattle area, nationally and internationally for audiences of all ages.

The company performances fuse music and movement from across the African continent, drawing heavily from the dance and music traditions of Benin, Ghana and Togo, among other countries. Instruction and shows often feature traditional dance from Benin, including 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 drums (djembé, djun-djun and paholé) and percussion (shaker and bell) accompany modern dance arrangements based on traditional movement while colorful costumes provide cultural context for Gansango’s dance shows.

Gansango - Circle of One

Gansango Music & Dance is available for performances and instruction.

Performance highlights include:

  • More than 100 community-focused all-age performances at western Washington public libraries since 2005
  • Eight major self-produced shows with audience size 300-900 since 2001
  • African dance performances and instruction in more than 70 schools in Western Washington since 2000
  • Performance tour of five cities in Colombia, South America (2009)
  • Tour of “Kaleta” show at Children’s Festivals in Miami, Philadelphia, Long Island and The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. (2004-2005)


Etienne Cakpo currently teaches contemporary African dance and traditional dance from Benin.  All levels welcome – we have new students showing up every week!

Monday 10-11:30 am
Wednesday 10-11:30 am
Friday 7-8:30 pm

Open Flight Studio
4205 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105

Gansango - Etienne Cakpo teaching