Mark Gibson, a Western Recreation and Outdoor Education professor, used his Alternative Programming Class to invite the Kissidugu Foundation to Western Colorado University’s campus. The foundation’s mission is to create opportunities for communities to thrive through education and cultural preservation and to share the music and dance of Guinea, West Africa.
West African Dancer and Drummer Fara Tolno, lead the courses while visiting Western. Tolno came to the United States twenty-four years ago with the traveling company Les Merveilles de Guinea (The Wonders of Guinea). He has been playing and dancing for over forty years and received his MFA in dance at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Though he continues to travel all over the world, Colorado is his home in the United States. Now, Tolno uses his expertise to perform around the country, sharing and teaching his culture.
“Fara is an amazing teacher and uses the performing and cultural arts to address many relevant DEI issues,” said Gibson.
The On-Campus Event
After teaching multiple dance and drum courses on campus, Tolno and his crew performed a fully-produced show, including dancers, drummers, and even acrobats and jugglers. Though he is a performer at heart, Tolno is grateful for the chance to teach and be a part of the culture on campus and in communities.
“We are happy for people to open their hearts and minds and be able to learn a new culture that’s connected to all of us,” said Tolno.
Check out other upcoming events on campus at Western Colorado University.
Author Credit: Kinlee Whitney
Photo Credit: Kate Wasson