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Monday, June 11, 2012

The 2012 GAA Heritage Arts Award 
Originally from Benin, West Africa, Charles Ahovissi is a professional artist, dancer, drummer, choreographer, educator, costume designer and tailor. Charles began his dancing career in 1984 when he joined the National Ballet Company of Benin. He left the National Ballet in 1987 and joined the Super Anges Dance Troop that toured extensively throughout the world performing and teaching traditional African Dance and music. In 2000, he relocated to the United States.

Since moving to Omaha, Charles has taught and performed at many schools and organizations as a Nebraska Arts Council and Iowa Arts Council teaching and performing artist. He has also conducted on-going public classes in dance and drumming in connection with The Moving Company at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

In 2006, he co-founded the non-profit African Culture Connection to be able to reach more schools and organizations in and around Nebraska. Charles teaches in order to share his knowledge and love of Africa. He uses his art form to foster understanding of Africa’s diverse and beautiful cultures. Through dancing and drumming during public performances, school assemblies, residencies, and workshops, Charles promotes unity and multiculturalism while offering students a fun, social and physical activity. He provides multicultural lessons by giving students authentic, hands-on experiences with African culture. He creates an authentic African village ambiance and uses ceremonial African clothes as well as traditional instruments to teach about African culture.

Charles continually seeks knowledge and experience to enhance his residency and performance programs. He has participated in three John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Seminars at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls: 1) Planning Effective Arts-Integrated Residencies for Students; 2) Laying a Foundation: Defining Arts Integration; and 3) Anatomy of a Lesson: Designing Instruction.


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