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Etienne Cakpo

County: King County




Grants for Artist Projects 2008, 2019
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Fellowship Awards 2006, 2013
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Etienne Cakpo is an award-winning dancer, choreographer and musician from Benin, West Africa. Specialized in instruction and performance of traditional African dance from Benin as well as contemporary African dance styles, Etienne has been building his repertoire for nearly thirty years. He is director of Gansango Music & Dance, a dance company registered in Washington State since 2000. Gansango works with libraries, schools and independent arts agencies to make African dance and music performances available to a wide range of audiences, including young children. As Artistic Director of Gansango, Etienne has been the innovative mind and lead choreographic talent behind numerous public dance performances, representing a remarkable diversity of styles, and embodying collaborations with a broad range of collaborators from Uzbekistan to Burkina Faso, from Japan to Zimbabwe. For Etienne, the act of creating dance is innovation by definition, with his culture and cross-cultural collaborations serving as key inspirational forces.

Etienne received 2019 GAP Award funding to support full-video and photo documentation of a new, all-original dance performance entitled “Africa Remix” presented at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute in October 2019. The video and photo documentation will allow him to leverage future grants and performance opportunities in a way that isn’t feasible without the GAP award support.

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Image: Peggy Piacenza, 2024 Fellowship Recipient

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