About African Culture Connection
African Culture Connection is an Omaha-based nonprofit 501(c)3 organization founded by Charles Ahovissi, a professional dancer, drummer, performer, choreographer, stage costume designer and tailor from Benin, West Africa.
Founded in 2006, the organization offers residency programs and performances led by professional artists, including master dancers, drummers and storytellers from the United States and abroad.
About Charles Ahovissi
Since 1986, Charles has toured the world as a member of the Ballet National of Benin, performing and teaching traditional African dance and drumming. Now residing in Omaha, Charles enjoys sharing his knowledge and love of Africa through traditional dancing and drumming as a way to foster better understanding of Africa’s diverse and beautiful cultures.
He is an approved teaching and performing artist through the Nebraska and Iowa Arts Councils. Charles Ahovissi has participated in the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ Seminars “Planning Effective Arts-Integrated Residencies for Students,” “Laying a Foundation: Defining Arts Integration,” and “Anatomy of a Lesson: Designing Instruction” at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
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.
Charles provides multicultural experience by giving students a truly hands-on interaction with African culture. He creates an authentic African village ambiance and uses ceremonial African clothes as well as traditional instruments to teach African history, music, art and dance.
Charles is the contact person for African Culture Connection. To arrange for your presentation or to receive more information, please contact Charles by phone at (402) 238-8259 or through this website.
Our Mission and Goals
African Culture Connection’s mission is to provide the general public with African cultural and artistic experiences. This is accomplished through our goals:
- Encouraging people to increase their knowledge of African culture, using traditional African arts that relate to the values and principles of traditional African society and life.
- Encouraging the respect that is incorporated in traditional African culture.
- Teaching people of African descent about their traditional culture and history so that they may gain a positive self-image, self-awareness and self-direction.
- Providing students with a fun way to engage in academic and physical exercises.
- Showcasing the beauty of African culture by performing traditional African dance, music and story.
View African Culture Connection’s current Strategic Plan, released July 1st, 2015.
“Cultural roots planted in the past flourish in the present and seed the future.”
“Every child deserves a past, present, and future.”
African Culture Connection’s immediate future is devoted to the establishment of an African Cultural Center. This Center will serve as a model to educate the community in order to foster a greater understanding of and appreciation for African and cross-cultural artistic cooperative endeavors. Visitors will have the opportunity to learn about African culture through the study of dance, music, drum making, language, drama, history, culinary and textile arts, and other aspects of African culture.
The African Cultural Center will become locally and nationally known as a resource center for the study of African cultural arts. ACC establishes cultural exchanges among all ethnic groups, by celebrating and educating them of Africa’s and African Peoples’ rich culture and the influence of African culture to the Americas and the world. ACC raises the awareness of dance and drumming as a tool to facilitate the health and well being of the individual.
Governing Board of Directors
- Phyllis Uchtman, President
- Charla Johnson, Secretary
- Barbara Velazquez, Treasurer
- Sam Dickson
- Sharif Liwaru
- Sam Quartey
- Gwynette Williams
- Christina Windsor
- Charles Ahovissi, Artistic Director
- Kristen Combs-Bicaba, Director of Operations
- Dr. Natalie D. Hahn
Malaika Foundation, Founder and President
- Prof. Danielle Laurion
University of Nebraska-Omaha, Interim Director of UNO’s The Moving Company
- Emily Mwaja
Girls, Inc., Director of Programs
We Would Appreciate Your Support As Well!
We are a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. If you believe in what we do and can help support our mission, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution.