Photo of Suzan Bradford Kounta

Suzan Bradford Kounta

West African Dance/Movement & Music Thiossane Institute
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As creative director of the Thiossane Institute, Suzan Bradford Kounta is loyal to the mission of presenting and preserving traditional dance, music, and culture and perpetuating its significance to future generations while promoting physical and mental wellness. Through authentic presentations and detailed instruction, Thiossane is an asset to the Columbus community and has many collaborations in the arts. The institute will celebrate 20 years next year with the debuts of restaging theatrical African folktales such as “Allandar: The Epic of Sundiata,” the ancient Malian story that inspired the “Lion King” (2015); “Mufaro’s Most Beautiful Daughter” (2016); “Kirikou and the Sorcerer” (2017); “Spider Weaver, The Legend of the Kente Cloth” (2018); and “Mbenktel Khaleyi (Happiness of the Children)” (2019).

Suzan’s experiences and knowledge gained from years of training and travel to West Africa has earned the performing company various acknowledgements and awards in part of their longevity in the community. Her unwavering loyalty to the richness of this art form is a strength that has bestowed the utmost respect and has awarded her many accolades in serving young people, artists, the community, and the arts, locally, nationally, and internationally.

The richness of the African culture is amenable to all and any parts of education, awareness, and respect to any form of creativity. Suzan selected this art form as a vehicle to encourage, engage, and enhance personal and social awareness while promoting physical and mental wellness with cultural structure conducive to continued and advanced learning. After several visits to West Africa and working closely with young people, it was very apparent to Suzan the family and culture structure that permeates in Africa was declining in the American culture of the 21st century. The baby boomer generation was raised in boundaries, limitations, expectations, and drive that was achieved by determination and hard work. Suzan’s experience and theory encouraged her to blend the best of both cultures to enrich and shape the lives of young people. The art form of traditional West African dance and music is the perfect vehicle to attract, engage, mentor, and mold young people to be well-rounded, productive citizens of our global community.

Grade Levels/Age Groups

  • PreK
  • Grades 1-3
  • Grades 4-5
  • Grades 6-8
  • Grades 9-12
  • Young Adult
  • Adult
  • Senior

Facilities and Resources Required

  • Audio System
  • Performance Space
  • Chairs
  • Non-Carpeted Floors
  • Backstage Area/Dressing Room


Upon request, subject to change based on performers’ availability