The mission of Balafon West African Dance Ensemble, Inc. is to provide an insightful, woman, centered perspective on West African tradition and culture as a source of healing and balance by providing quality education and entertainment to audiences of all nationalities and walks of life.
Officially formed by Kadiatou Conte-Forte and her Washington, DC students in 1997, Balafon is a creative partnership among several artists who masterfully blend the natural elegance of traditional West African dance and music with amazingly heroic athleticism.
A Celebration of Culture
Guided by the Artistic Directorship of Kadiatou Conte, a native of the Republic of Guinea, the ensemble brings to the stage an exquisite celebration of classical West African song, music, and dance reflecting more than 30 years of experience in the world of African performance arts. With its intricate display of choreography and elaborately colorful costumes, Balafon is a breath of fresh air on the contemporary African dance scene offering a unique perspective on West African tradition and culture. A definite must see!
What’s in the Name?
The keys of the balafon are made from dried Shea butter tree wood cords are placed under the keys to amplify the sound which is produced by striking the two keys with two padded sticks.
A Partial Tour History
Dance FestivalsAfrican Dance and Drum Conference, Atlanta GeorgiaDanceAfrica DC, Washington DCFlorida African Dance Festival, Tallahassee, FLMetro Dance Awards, Washington DCMidwest African Dance Conference, Cleveland Ohio
UniversitiesUniversity Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh PA University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PAFlorida A&M University, Tallahassee, FLGeorgetown University, Washington, DCHoward University, Washington, DCPennsylvania State University, McKeesport, PAUniversity of Maryland, College Park, MD
Venues, Embassies & InstitutionsJohn F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, Washington, DCUnited Nations Headquarters, New Your City, NYPublick Playhouse for the Performing Arts, Cheverly, MDStrathmore Arts, Bethesda, MDGhanaian Embassy, Washington, DCMaison Françoise (French Embassy), Washington DCNASA Headquarters, Washington, DCNational Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DCPittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburgh, PAAugust Wilson Center for African-American Culture, Pittsburgh, PAThe Byham, Pittsburgh, PAKelly-Strayhorn Theater, Pittsburgh, PA