Kwame Shaka Opare is a classically trained West African dancer. At 14 he became a principal dancer with Kankouran West African Dance Company under the tutelage of mentor and artistic director Assane Konte. As a young adult Kwame moved to New York City where he quickly established himself as a dynamic and exciting instructor and choreographer. By 21 he had performed and produced works for all of the major traditional African and traditional/contemporary African dance companies in the city. In 1998 Kwame began touring with the Broadway show STOMP. While with STOMP, Kwame attained the lead role and became rehearsal director for two touring casts. Using his diverse experience in the performing arts Kwame founded DishiBem (pronounced dee-shee-bim) Traditional Contemporary Dance Group in 2003 to bridge the gap between traditional West African and contemporary performance modes. Kwame has created critically acclaimed, award-winning work that speaks to social issues around the World including a Katherine Dunham Award in the category of Best New Choreography for “Suite Nina” which he choreographed for Muntu Dance Theater Chicago. In 2010 Kwame was awarded an appointment as Masters of Fine Arts candidate at The Graduate School of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies at The University of Maryland College Park. Kwame currently consults with classroom teachers and administrators as an Arts Education specialist, is a professor of dance at the University of Maryland, Maryland State Arts Council artist, k-12 teaching artists, artistic director of DishiBem Traditional Contemporary Dance Group and director of Kwame Shaka Opare Photographic Arts (KSOPA).
Kwame is renowned for his ability to engage an audience and effectively transfer meaning and purpose. This talent is echoed in the classroom and dance studio with students of all ages. He is praised by students, teachers, and principals alike for his successful methods of making learning an engaging, fun and rewarding experience.
Sought after for his experience, insight and artistic vision, Kwame also works as a consultant on film projects, photo shoots, music production and musical and dance performances.