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Ghana Dance Ensemble

A highly successful collaboration between the Government's Institute of Arts and Culture and The Institute of African Studies of the University of Ghana created the Ghana Dance Ensemble in 1962. From its inception, the Ensemble was to be Ghana's flagship for the professional, world-wide promotion of the music and dance heritage of Ghana under girded by solid field work and experimental research.

The Ghana Dance Ensemble has a tradition of identifying young, talented artistes with mastery of particular dance forms from different parts of the country and training them to express a dazzling variety of dances. Many of these dancers have gone on to set up their own companies or worked with companies all over the world.

The directors of the Ensemble have had the challenge of transforming dance in the day to day lives of Ghanaians to stage presentations containing them in restricted time and space. The handiwork of Professor Mawere Opoku was characterized by just enough choreography to showcase the classic movements of heritage dances. Professor Nii Yartey, his successor has explored the dance vocabulary to dialogue with dance cultures from other parts of the world to bring the Ensemble into the area of contemporary dance.

The current Ghana Dance Ensemble in the hands of Dr. Aristides Nene Narh Hargoe who maintains the discipline of the early classics but continues to expand its repertoire and to explore dance as an expression of contemporary issues. The Ensemble has had the privilege of exposure to other world class traditional artists, scholars, researchers, and theatre professionals.

The Ghana Dance Ensemble together with the Ballet Africain of Guinea Conakry in the 1960s and 70s, gave the world a breath-taking apercu of African aesthetics and culture from the perspective of Africans.

The Ensemble has served as a model for a variety of amateur groups in Ghana. The Ghana Dance Ensemble's broad mandate has led to a decision to spawn the National Dance Company with a core membership based at the National Theatre of Ghana which caters for numerous national assignments. The research, teaching and experimental emphases continue to underlie the work of the Ensemble at the Institute of African Studies where thousands of Ghanaian and non-Ghanaian students and lovers of African dance and music have been introduced to the unforgettable dance culture of Ghana.

The Ghana Dance Ensemble comes to you as an institution established to conserve the exquisite, rich heritage of Ghana's dance cultures and to stand for the exhilarating creativity engendered by the essence of Ghanaian Dance.