Monday, May 07, 2007

Kôtou Danse

Many of you have seen William and others perform at some of our other shows (Books for Africa benefit, Dunn Bros reception, studio opening). Members of the Kotou Danse Company will be performing at the Art-A-Whirl this year. A bit more about the group:

Kôtou Danse
Traditional and Contemporary Music and Dance from the African Continent

Kôtou Danse is an international collaboration of diverse artists, dedicated to bringing the beauty and tradition of West African music and dance to the contemporary sensibilities of a global world. We specialize in traditional Ivorian dance , as well as contemporary West African dance, dance theater and traditional dance from many other West African cultures. Artistic director William Atchouellou, an accomplished dancer/choreographer from Cote D’Ivoire, has an extensive background of performance and art creation that spans the globe.

William, an internationally acclaimed dancer and choreographer, has fifteen years of experience as a professional dancer with an emphasis in Afro-modern, contemporary and traditional West African dance styles. Originally from the Cote d’Ivoire, he was a member and Artistic Director of the Ten Zo Dance Company and has performed and taught throughout the U.S., Mexico and Europe. William created Kôtou Danse with a vision of bringing contemporary and traditional West African dance and drum to Minnesota through live performances, educational programs and dance classes.

Today, in collaboration with a diverse collection of international artists, Kôtou Danse is fulfilling William’s vision. Kôtou artists provide adult West African dance classes in Minneapolis/St. Paul, educate students about West African dance and music through an exciting interactive learning format and Kôtou Danse performs at numerous venues throughout the state and Midwest. Weekly company classes are currently held at Pillsbury House (35th and Chicago Ave in Minneapolis) on Tuesday nights from 6:30-8:20PM. In addition to William, numerous guests artists teach the class. We have been pleased to offer classes by Christian Adeti, N’Soroma James, and others.

Kôtou provides educational entertainment at an affordable price for schools, camps and community groups. Dance workshops, residencies, performances and lecture/demonstrations are all ways to spread knowledge about the traditions of West African music and dance. Students learn about the different instruments and the sounds they make to create the traditional rhythms. In a fun and interactive format, young people and adults alike can learn how music and dance work together in the West African tradition.

Kôtou Danse has performed all over the Minneapolis/St. Paul area at a variety of venues and events. We have delighted audiences at The Caponi Outdoor Amphitheater, The Southern Theater, Trocaderos, The Varsity Theater, Intermedia Arts, Landmark Center, and Peavey Plaza, among others. Our live performances feature skilled drumming and highly technical dance movements, accompanied by traditional instruments and song. There is always an element of theater and crowd participation in Kôtou ’s shows.

Currently, our company consists of William Atchouellou - artistic director, Pam Plagge, Tricia Adkins, Kenna Sarge, Foxy Gilley, Brent Clarke, Eric Coursen, Mat Dames, Ghana M’Baye*, Moses Brown*, Kierno Djoubate*, and Emmanuel Livingston**. Visit for more complete information on the company members. We pride ourselves on the diverse background of our company members, some of whom have been studying traditional West African music and dance for years, and some of whom come from a modern dance background. Our musicians hail from Liberia, Guinea, Cote D’Ivoire, and the United States, and play a variety of traditional percussion and melodic instruments.

*guest artist, **apprentice

Kôtou Danse has an extensive repertoire, featuring and evening length work, Sans Visage, along with numerous traditional and contemporary works choreographed by William and other company members. Our goal is to continue to perform in professional venues across the state of Minnesota, the United States, and Canada.

For Booking Information Contact:
USA-Kenna Sarge

Canada/International - William Atchouellou

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