News & Events

Kotchegna Dance Company performs during UMPI’s Homecoming

New York City-based African dance and drumming troupe Kotchegna Dance Company serves as the main event during the University of Maine at Presque Isle’s Homecoming 2018 festivities on Friday, Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. in the Auditorium in Wieden Hall. Under the direction of Vado Diomande, the group will bring to life ancient stories and legends of Africa’s Ivory Coast through dance and drumming. The event is free and open to the public.

Kotchegna Dance Company inspires its audiences with colorful clothing, joyful dances, and powerful rhythms. The troupe’s performance evokes West Africa village life through dance, drumming, vigorous songs, and call-and-response. The company has performed around the world in concerts, festivals, and educational programs. Throughout the Sept. 28 performance, troupe members will share the culture and traditions of Africa’s Ivory Coast.

The dance company has been embraced by audiences from New York’s Prospect Park Band Shell and the American Museum of Natural History to Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival. “Feverishly intricate rhythms from drummers who knew countless ways to subdivide a beat and make it jump,” is how the New York Times described Kotchegna’s sound.

Company founder and artistic director Vado Diomande was born into the sacred stilt-dancing tradition of the Mahou people in northwest Ivory Coast. Noticed at an early age by talent scouts, he joined the Ballet National de Cote D’Ivoire and absorbed the many diverse dances of more than 60 ethnic groups of the Ivory Coast. He spent 15 years as a principal dancer and choreographer with the Ballet National, touring the world and impressing audiences with his acrobatics. He established his own dance company, L’Ensemble Kokiegna d’Abidjan, in 1989, touring Ivory Coast and Australia. After arriving in the United States in 1994, he re-established his dance company in New York City as the Kotchegna Dance Company, developing a corps of multicultural dancers and a repertoire that is widely loved and admired.

Diomande now holds all-age workshops and classes to inspire his students to pursue drumming and dance in the African tradition.

UMPI welcomes the campus and community to attend this performance on Sept. 28. For more information, please contact UMPI’s Community and Media Relations Office at (207) 768-9452 or email umpi@maine.edu.