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BI-OKOTO envisions a world where Individuals, families, communities, and nations take pride in their cultural heritage while appreciating the cultural expression of others. Our mission is to preserve, promote and share the rich cultural heritage and traditions of Africa and Africans
Bl-OKOTO DRUM & DANCE THEATRE was established in 1994 as a professional African dance company comprised of highly talented artists and was incorporated in August 1996 as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit multicultural performing arts organization in the state of Ohio.
Since its founding, Bi-Okoto has grown to be one of the most artistically accomplished and stable African Drum Dance Theatre company the country. The company is highly regarded for its innovative repertory preserving traditional African dances, drumming, songs, food, clothing and languages. By the end of 2002, Bi-Okoto's dance repertoire had grown from about 37 to 93 authentic traditional dances and dance dramas from different parts of west, south and central Africa. Bi-Okoto had created, produced and toured up to eight new works nationally that received rave reviews.
By the end of 2002, Bi-Okoto's focus on arts education had also began to pay off. Bi-Okoto had presented 254 assemblies to 139 schools in 29 states, reaching over 50,000 children and teachers. Bi-Okoto had provided 2 years residencies to 11 schools through the Adopt-A-School program. Bi-Okoto had received an NEA grant to work with Mills Lawn Elementary School as a model to be taken to other schools nationwide. Bi-Okoto had worked with hundreds of special-needs children across the country from different institutions including Stepping Stones, MRDD, Children's Hospital, The Shriner's Burn and the likes, here locally. Bi-Okoto had worked with several "at-risk" youths through the Project Succeed, Yo-Arts and similar programs both locally and nationwide!
It of course came as little or no surprise in January of 2003 when Bi-Okoto received the high honor to perform for the United States & United Nations military forces in Europe. The sponsor of the tour, The US Department of Defense Armed Forces Entertainment (US DOD AFE) chose Bi-Okoto from hundreds of available entertainment groups from around the country. Seven artists from the organization toured the United Kingdom, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany presenting 35 performances over the course of 5 weeks. The purpose of the tour was to entertain the military men and women overseas by lifting their spirits and morale; to provide a touch of home and to remind them they are remembered and loved by friends and families here in the United States.
- Adebola Olowe
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