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Biography

Dr. Zelma Badu-Younge, Associate Professor of Dance at Ohio University, one of the most charismatic cultural fusion artists, captivates her audience as she steps on stage. This mesmerizing performer is considered one of the most electrifying choreographers; with her high-energy synthesis of West African traditions combined with other world dance forms. Dr. Badu-Younge received some of the finest training in Canada, the United States, and Ghana: The National Ballet School of Canada, L' Academie des Grands Ballet Canadiens, Dance Theatre of Harlem, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center and University of Ghana's School of Performing Arts. She holds a B.F.A. in Contemporary Dance focusing on Choreography (Concordia University), a M.F.A. in Dance Ethnology (York University), and a Ph.D. in Integrated Studies in Education focusing on Culture and Values in Education (McGill University). Both her M.F.A. “Atsiagbekor: Documentation of an Ewe Dance Form” and Ph.D. “Ewe Culture as Expressed in Ghana West Africa Through Adzogbo Dance Ceremony: A Foundation for the Development of Interactive Multimedia Educational Material” research took her to West Africa, where she studied the Music and Dances of Ghana.

Badu-Younge is Associate Director of the Annual International Summer Program in African Interdisciplinary Arts; and Experience Cuba: Culture, People, History and The Arts at Ohio University. Co-Founder/Director (2013) of Nuit Blanche Athens International Arts Festival; Founder (2003) and Co-Director of the Ohio University African Ensemble, Co-Founder/Director (2010) of the Ohio University World Music and Dance Festival and Concert, the African Culture Through Music and Dance Certificate Program (2012) and the conference/symposium: Performing Africa! Visualizing Africa!! New Perspectives in African Performing and Visual Arts: The First Biannual International Conference for Performers, Visual Artists, Educators, Teachers and Scholars (2007) and Mother Africa (2009) both held at Ohio University. She has served as Canadian Heritage’s Artistic Assessor for The National Arts Training Contribution Program and was a Specialist for Jury for the Canada Council for the Arts. Zelma is a member of the Ohio Collective for Africa’s Arts and OhioDance Board of Trustees, where she is chairperson for Outreach and Education.

Badu-Younge danced with The Philadelphia Dance Company -- Philadanco (Philadelphia, PA), and the Forces of Nature Dance Theatre Company (New York, NY); and has shared the stage and programs with many national and international dance artists and performance groups including Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Helen Mensah of the Ghana Dance Ensemble, Margie Gillis, and I Ketut Rina (Indonesian dancer). She has also performed (as Azaguno performer or solo artist) with national and international performing artists and groups such as: Gibson Muriva (Zimbabwe/Canada), Rhodnie Désir (Haiti/Canada), Ghislaine Doté (Central Africa/Canada), Souleymane Badolo (Burkino Faso/USA) and Nora Chipaumire (Zimbabwe/USA) in the Ascen/danse Contemporary dance/performance festival (highlighting artists of the African diaspora); the International Association Of Blacks In Dance Conference members, including Alvin Ailey, Dallas Black Dance Company, Lula Washington Dance Theatre and the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica; The Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra (Hong Kong), Cathy Sharp Dance Ensemble (Switzerland), Riosamba (Germany), The State Dance Ensemble (Sri Lanka), Nanta – “Cookin” (South Korea), Olodum (Brazil), De Jimbe (Afro-Irish Group - Ireland) Groupe "DJEMBE RYTHM" (Senegal), PACE (Denmark), Barenaked Ladies (Canada), Halim El-dabh (composer for Martha Graham), Bob Becker of Nexus (Canada), Ju Percussion (Taiwan), Percussion Ensemble Chung Ang (South Korea), Cie Cameleon (France), Abbos Group (Uzbekistan), Satriya Budaya (Indonesia), Akin Euba (USA), Choi Jong Sil (South Korea), Thomas Lang (USA), Tomohiro Yahiro (Japan), Dudu Tucci (Germany/Brazil), Tony Royster Jr. (USA), and others from Sweden, Italy, Cuba, Costa Rica, Spain, Argentina, Portugal, South Africa, Poland, Slovenia, Uruguay, and Mainland China.

Badu-Younge has instructed, lectured, performed, given workshops or choreographed throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Taiwan, South Korea, Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Italy, Germany, and Ghana. As a scholar, professional dance artist and teacher, she has been invited to sit on committees for The Congress on Research in Dance/The American Society for Theatre Research and the Ohio Department of Education’s “Committee for the Arts and Innovative Thinking:” Dr. Badu-Younge recently produced/directed/performed in Moving Bodies: A concert of European and African Contemporary dance featuring Azaguno (Athens, OH) and the Cathy Sharp Dance Ensemble (Basel, Switzerland), was a guest speaker at Princeton University’s 3rd International Symposium on the Music of Africa and presenter at Orff in Africa “Music is Dance, Dance is Music” conference (Ho, Ghana.) She was also site coordinator for the OhioDance Regional Festival, Director for the Moving Bodies International Dance Film Festival (Athens, OH), guest choreographer for Ballet Creole in Toronto (2009) and was commissioned by The National Dance Company of Ghana to create two choreographic works (2010 and 2011.) Zelma was also invited to serve as North American Representative and Program Coordinator for the Institute for Music and Development (Ho and Accra, Ghana) directed by Dr. Komla Amoaku and Korkor Amarteifio (initially supported by the Dept. of State and Government of United States (2010.)

Badu-Younge is a recent recipient of the Ohio Arts Council Individual Creativity Excellence Award grant for choreography, the NAACP Image Award for Excellence in Faculty Academics and Research and three Arts for Ohio Awards. Prior to coming to Ohio University, she received several awards from the African and Caribbean Communities, the City of North York, Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto, Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council and the Ministry of Culture. Zelma was also honored with a nomination for Outstanding Choreography by the Dora Mavor Moore Awards (equivalent to the Tony Awards) and received a Laidlaw Foundation and Canada Council Arts Grant "B” Award (equivalent to The National Endowment to the Arts) for her work Yaa Asantewa: A hybrid of dance, music, visual art, and interactive multimedia computer technology. In addition, Zelma was awarded the prestigious Chalmers Award for choreography as well as a Canadian Year of Asia Pacific (CYAP) grant for an African Classical Indian collaborative (Odissi-Style). 
 
Perspectives Magazine article - Muses of Movement 
http://www.ohio.edu/research/communications/upload/Muses_of_movement.pdf

Contact

WORK
Ohio University
School of Dance
Putnam Hall 222
Athens, OH, 45701
Tel. 740 593 1826

E-mail: or baduyou@ohio.edu

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