Dr. Isaac Nii Akrong
Dr. Isaac Akrong is an exceptional performer of West African traditional dance and drumming forms. Dr. Akrong hails from the Ga people of the coastal belt of Ghana. West Africa. At an early age he was immersed in the traditions of his culture. His love of traditional music and arts led him to the University of Ghana, School of Performing Arts where he completed an undergraduate degree. Isaac was invited to join the Ghana Dance Ensemble of the Institute of African Studies, Legon; where he continued with his learning and love of traditional music performing a multitude of different African cultural dances and drumming forms.
He holds a MA in dance and a PhD in Ethnomusicology from York University. Dr. Akrong has taught West African Drumming (Mande) and Dance at the Music, and Dance Departments at York University. Music Africa featured Isaac with traditional drummers in a concert performance, at the Royal Ontario Museum for African History Month celebrations in February 2003. During fall 2003 Isaac was a visiting artist in Dance at the Wesleyan University, Connecticut.
Dr. Akrong has a strong commitment to sharing his knowledge of West African traditional dance and drumming with the world. “We sing and dance through our lives on earth and beyond” In 2001, Isaac founded Ade (to tell in Ga Language) and also stands for the African Dance Ensemble (ADE). www.afridance.com a multinational touring company. Isaac Currently teaches African Dance I and II at Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania.
PhD Ethnomusicology 2013, York University (Department of Music) Toronto, Canada
“Hip Life Music: Re-Defining Ghanaian Culture (1990-2012)”
M.A. Dance 2003, York University (Department of Dance) Toronto, Canada
“Kpanlogo Dance Today: A Documentation of the Evolution of a Ga Traditional Dance Form of Ghana, West Africa”
Diploma in Theatre Arts (Dance) 1999, University of Ghana (The School of Performing Arts, Department of Dance), Legon
Choreography Project: “Artinapa”
Founding Director of the African Dance Ensemble (ADE), North York, 2001to present
Founding Director of the annual Humanity in Harmony Festival, York University, 2006 to present
Founder and Artistic Director, Humanity in Harmony Foundation Inc., a nonprofit org., Toronto, established 2007
Associate in Performance: Dance. African Dance, DANC 043, DANC 053. Department of Music and Dance, Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania- September 2014-Present
Instructor, West African Drum Ensemble MUS 1043, MUS 1097, Department of Music, York University – 2002-2004, 2007- June 2014
Guest Teaching, African Dance Workshop, Dance for Teachers DANC 3041 Department of Education, York University, Toronto - November 18, 2013
Guest Teaching, Arts and Ideas, Cultural Studies FACS 1900, York University, Nov. 24, 2009; Nov. 11, 2010.
Guest Teaching, African Dance, Theatre School/Dance, THD 400 Jazz, Ryerson University, Toronto. Nov. 3, 10, 2008, September 15, 2009, Sept. 7, 13, 14, 2010
Graduate Teaching Assistant, Introduction to African Studies, AS SOSC 2480, African Studies Program, Social Sciences. York University – Fall/Winter 2006-2007
Graduate Research Assistant, Music and Cultures GSRA, Department of Music, York University - Fall/Winter 2006
Visiting Artist in Residence, West African Dance, Department of Dance, DANC 260, DANC 360, Wesleyan University CT. – Fall 2003
Graduate Teaching Assistant, Dance Mosaic, FA DANC Y 3321, Department of Dance, York University - 2002
Graduate Teaching Assistant, Ghanaian Music and Dance, Dance Department, FA DANC F 3330, FA DANC F 3330, York University, 2001- June 2003
Guest Tutor, African Music and Dance – Millennium Arts Festival (The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award), Stirling University, Scotland – July 2000
Teaching Assistant/Dancer – Institute of African Studies (Ghana Dance Ensemble), University of Ghana, 1999-2001
Elementary, Secondary, and Various Bodies
African Dance and Drum Performance, Muthadi International Drum Festival, Woodbine Park, Toronto, June 7, 2014
Interactive Rhythms and Dance of the Ga Tradition. Perspectives on Historical and Contemporary Ransoming Practices Conference. Harriet Tubman Institute, Toronto: York University, April 26, 2014
African Dance Showcase, Taste of Africa, Bolton, April 12, 2014
Adumu II African Dance and Drum Premiere for Zawaldi la Tumaini Night in Africa, Sudbury, Feb. 22, 2014
African Dance and Drum Performance, Agnes Taylor Public School, Feb. 7, 2014
African Dance and Drum Performance, Calderstone Middle School, Brampton, Feb. 3, 2014
African Dance Workshop for Children, Oakville School for the Arts, Oakville, July 27, and Aug. 3, 2012, July 26, Aug. 2, 2013
Homowo 2008, Ga Adangme Festival, Toronto Aug. 30, 2008
World Premiere, "Kpakenawa" Luminat'eau Festival 2008, Toronto Star Stage, Toronto, June 14, 2008
Marrying Cultures, Naya and Steve's Wedding Special dedication. Vaughan May 30, 2008
African themed Children's Celebration, Avenue Rd. Toronto. May 24, 2008
"From 'Lolomashie' to Hip Life: Changes in Ghanaian traditional and popular performance scene." Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT. May 1, 2008
A night with Stephen Lewis. Special performance, CNE, Toronto. Apr. 2008
SEM Niagara Chapter Concert. ADE, Toronto, Mar. 28, 2008
Africa Alive Concert, Toronto. Feb. 21, 2008
2nd Annual Humanity in Harmony Concert (IECPC-2007), ACE- S.I.F. Theatre, York University, Toronto, - Oct. 11 2007
Afrofest, Children’s Village Queens Park, Toronto - Jul. 7-8 2007
Luminato Festival, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto - June 10 2007
IBM Diversity Gala, Toronto - June 1 2007
AMREF, Toronto - May 24 2007
Carassauga Festival, Missisauga - May 26 2007
RUSSEAU Reunion, Toronto - May 19 2007
Mapabazuko Celebration, University of Toronto, William Doo Auditorium, Toronto - Apr. 10 2007
Harriet Tubman Institute Opening Ceremony/200th Anniv. of the Abolishing of Slave Trade, York University, Mar. 25 2007
Ghanaian Students Assoc. at York, Celebration, York University, Toronto - Mar. 6 2007
Lauretian University African & Caribbean Students Assoc. (L.U.A.C.S.A.), Sudbury, Mar. 3 2007
African Caribbean Association A.H.M. Celebration, City Hall, Kitchener- Feb. 24 2007
The Joy of Mama Africa Concert, Lula Lounge., Toronto, Feb. 15 2007
James Cardinal McGuigan High School, Keele & Finch, Toronto - Feb. 12 2007
200th Anniversary, Abolishing Transatlantic Slave Trade, City Hall, Toronto - 10 Feb. 2007
Loughheed Middle School, Brampton - Feb. 8, 2007
Brookview Middle School, Toronto - Feb. 1 2007
Divine Mercy School, Maple - Jan. - Feb. 2007
Book Launch, TCHC & BTL Books, The Train Studio, Toronto - Jan. 19, 2006
African Dance Seminar York University, Toronto - Jan 21, 2006
Brookview Middle School, Toronto - Feb. 1, 2006
African Night & Dinner ASSA, York University, Toronto - Feb. 2, 2006
St. Vincent de Paule Cath. School, Toronto - Feb. 10, 2006
Saint Roberts School, Markham- Feb. 13, 2006
St. Marcellus Cath. School, Toronto - Feb. 15, 2006
Gulfstream Public School, Toronto - Feb. 22, 2006
African Heritage Month Fundraising Dinner Dance Org. by TCHC, Toronto - Feb. 24, 2006
Dance Department. York University, Toronto - African Dance Workshop Mar. 11, 2006
Dancing Worlds, York University, Toronto - Mar. 23-25, 2006
To Africa with Love A fundraising banquet for Student-Exchange program between York University, Canada and University of Ghana, Toronto - April 29, 2006
Jacaranda Celebration II A project in support of Kaduna, Nigeria West Africa. Org. by the St. Paul's Anglican Church, Toronto. - May 6, 2006
Muhtadi International Drum Festival, Harbourfront Centre - Jun. 2, 2006, Queens Park - Jun. 3 & 4, 2006
Humanity in Harmony Concert (IECPC-2006), York University, Toronto, - Sept. 29-30, 2006
St Andrews Performance Workshop, Aurora - Oct. 20, 2006
Anniversary Celebrations of Mr. and Mrs. Boateng, Mississauga - Dec. 22, 2006
Zambian Children Fund (ZCF), Toronto, Dec. 2006
Xylophone Performance, Swarthmore College, Philadelphia. U.S.A. Jan, 2005
Forest Manor School, North York – February 17, 2005
Chalk Farm Public School, Toronto – February 2005
Morningstar School, Mississauga – February 14, 2005
Unionville Public School – 140 Hollingham – February 15, 2005
Flemington Public School, Toronto – February 26, 2005
Toronto Elementary Teachers Association – (Maddison Banquet and Convention Centre), Toronto- March 16, 2005
Canada Day Celebration – Queen’s Park, Toronto – July 1, 2005
African Arts and Drums Workshop, Toronto – September 30, 2005
Toronto Community Housing Corporation gathering, CNE Toronto. October 1, 2005
Community Anti Violence Drumming Session, Lawrence Heights Community, Toronto Community Housing T.C.H. C. Aug. 5, 2005
Community Anti Violence Drumming Session, York Square, Toronto Community Housing T.C.H. C. Aug. 12, 2005
Community Anti Violence Drumming Session, Gordonridge Place, Toronto Community Housing T.C.H. C. Aug. 19, 2005
Community Anti Violence Drumming Session, St. James Town, St., Toronto Community Housing T.C.H. C. Aug. 26, 2005
Community Anti Violence Drumming Session, Glendower, Toronto Community Housing T.C.H.C. Sept. 2, 2005
Ghana Expo Canada, Toronto, Nov. 17, 2005
Annual Black History Month Concert, Afro-Canadian Caribbean Association of Hamilton & District, Winter 2004
Roots Festival, Chatham - July 8, 2004
Cynthia and Samuel Mensah Birthday, London UK – July 15, 2004
Elmcrest Public School, Mississauga – February 17, 2004
Canada Day Celebration, Queen’s Park, Toronto – July 1, 2004
Cornell Junior Public School. Scarborough - February 2004
Saint Roberts School, Markham – February 25, 2004
5th Annual Black History Month Gala "Independence and Liberation", Winter 2004
York University's Black Students' Alliance, Toronto, Fall 2003
Brookview School Cultural Show, Toronto, Spring 2002
Toronto Catholic District School Board, International Language Symposium, Toronto. Spring 2002
Self Employed in Native African Arts and Crafts since 1989 
Dance Auditions Jury, African Dance (World Dance), Dance Department, York University, providing regular support from 2009 to present
Dance Auditions Jury, African Dance Ensemble ADE, Toronto, March 16, 2013
Multicultural Week Cultural Explosion Dance Performance Judge, York Federation of Students, York University, February 15, 2012
Coach and Assessor for Ghanaian Dance and Drumming Skills of Award Participants of the Head of State Award Scheme of Ghana – 1999-2000
National Service – Ghana Education Service (Teaching Vocational Skills at Denyase) – 1992-1993
Guests and Gestures of Ethnography: The Magic of Ghanaian traditional and Popular Music and Dance Phenomenon, American Folklore Society/Folklore Studies Association of Canada 2007 Joint Annual Meeting. Quebec, October 17-21, 2007.
Kpanlogo Dance and Dancing from the Centre, S.D.H.S. Dancing from the Centre Conf. Chicago: Northwestern University, June 9-12, 2005.
Hip Life: Globalization, Transculturation, and Authenticity in Ghanaian Popular Music and Dance Scene.Graduate Program in Music Colloquium Series. Toronto: York University, May 9, 2005.
Miziki wa Kisasa: A Comparative Analysis of Rhythm in Sub-Saharan African Musics. Co-presentation, S.E.M. Niag.Chapt. Univ. of Toronto, March 12, 2005.
Movement (R)evolution Dialogues, Contemporary Performance in and of Africa. The Gwendolen M. Carter Conference in African Studies and 2004 Congress on Research in Dance. University of Florida, Florida, Feb.10-14, 2004
Society for Canadian Dance Conference, York University, Toronto, 2003.
Africa in the Information and Technology Age (African Studies Association 45th Annual Meeting) Washington, D.C. Dec. 2002.
Body Machine Conference (York University, Toronto) - 2001.
Practical Workshop on Collective Management of Performers’ Rights in English-Speaking African Countries Organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Co-operation with the Government of Ghana with the Participation of the Association of European Performers’ Organization (AEPO) Accra January 12-14, 2000.
Conference on Music and Healing in Africa and the Diasp. Int. Centre for African Music and Dance in Assoc. with the Inst. of African Studies. Univ. of Ghana, Sept. 3-5, 1997.
Conference on Research and Education on African Music and Dance. University of Ghana, Dec. 11, 1996.
“Ghanaian Gome and Jamaican Kumina: West African Influences.” Making Caribbean Dance: Continuity and Creativity in Island Cultures.Ed. Susanna Sloat. Florida: University Press of Florida, 2010: 153.
"Baa jo" African Dance Workshop World Dance Alliance (WDA), York University, Toronto, Jul. 18, 2006.
World Premier "Adesa." African Dance Ensemble (ADE), World Dance Alliance (WDA) York University, Toronto, Jul. 20, 2006.
“Ancient Rhythms of Ghana.”Glenn Gould Studio, a Collaboration for Skin Walk film by Andrew Lockington, February 5, 2006.
“Kpanlogo Dance Today: A Documentation of the Evolution of a Ga Traditional Dance
Form of Ghana, West Africa.”Dances of our Ancestors Conference proceedings. Phil.:
Swarthmore College, 2005.
Documentary Video with Samuel Mukungu.The Life of Isaac Akrong (DVD).York University,
Composition track with Kweku Emmisah.In Shaballabah; Kanya. Gold Coast Cultural
Troupe. CD. Scb-music GEMA SDD 10505.
“African Music in Society.” In Kaleidoscope: Art Attack. Toronto: CHRY Radio, Feb. 14
Access Career Development Grant, Ontario Arts Council - 2012
Lawrence Heisey Graduate Award in Fine Arts - 2007
Walter L. Gordon Scholarship - 2006
Graduate Development Fund International - 2005
York Graduate Scholarship –2001-2005
International Tuition Fee Scholarship- 2004
Peer Assessment Committee
Dance Section Jury, Canada Council for the Arts, Ottawa - 2012
Dance Initiatives Program Jury, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto - 2010
Multi-Arts Projects Jury, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto - 2008
Wulomo Traditional Chief Priest of The Ga Adangme Assoc. of Toronto -2012 to present
Executive/Artistic Director of African Dance Ensemble (ADE) - 2001 to present
Artistic Director of Sankofa African Dance Ensemble, Toronto - 2001 to 2004
Board Member of Maple Leaf Character Counts Inc., Toronto – 2002-2003
President of the Gold Award Holders’ Association, Ghana (The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award) 1999-2000
Coordinator for Dance, Association of Students of Performing Arts University of Ghana – 1998-1999
Secretary, La Youth Clubs Association, Accra – 1996-2000
Crafts exhibition at the Humanity in Harmony Festival, York University. 2009
Photo exhibition of Ghanaian Culture at the Labadi Beach Hotel during His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh and Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Ghana – 1998 & 1999, in conjunction with the Boys Brigade of La-Accra
Mounted exhibition of Ghanaian Necklaces at the Ernest Bruce Memorial, Methodist Church Hall during the visit of Mr. Paul Arengo Jones, the Secretary General of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award – UK, Accra, October 1993
Performances in Brief (Dance Choreography, Drums, Flutes, Xylophones, and Songs)
Drum Festival. Music Dept., York University, and March 2002- present.
Attenteben and Kpashimo Performance, The Late Joseph Neequaye’s Last Respect, La Club Assoc. of Ontario, Demarco Funeral Home, Toronto, December 13, 2013.
Xaware Show 2013, African Music and Dance, Toronto, September 14, 2013.
Multicultural Show, Glendon College Student Union, Glendon Campus, York University, Toronto, September 3, 2013
African Dance and Drumming Workshop, PrimalFest, Thorold, Niagara Falls, Aug. 24, 2013
Africa Alive, An African dance, music concert: Ghanaian, Guinean, and Nigerian traditional dance concert, Lula Lounge, Toronto, Feb. 21 2008.
Lolo Mashie, In Carnivalisma collaboration of Luminato Festival, Harborfront Centre, Jun. 10 2007.
Sorosonnie Reinterpretation.Harriet Tubman Institute Opening Ceremony on the 200th Anniversary of the Abolishment of the African Slave Trade. Attended by Canada’s Governor General, Her Excellency the Right Honorable Michaelle Jean, York University, March 2007.
Jera, Lauretian Univ. African & Caribbean Students Assoc., Sudbury, Mar. 3, 2007.
The Joy of Mama Africa Concert: a night of African music, drumming, dance, and song, Lula Lounge, Toronto, Feb. 15 2007.
Ade. Première.Isaac Akrong and the African Dance Ensemble. Ghana Expo Canada 2005: The First Ever Ghana Trade, Investment and Cultural Exhibition in Toronto. Toronto, November 17-18 2005.
Hogbetsotso Fest. Southern Volta Assoc. of Canada. Toronto, Oct. 8, 2005.
Toronto Community Housing Corporation Gathering. Toronto: C.N.E., Oct. 1, 2005.
Canada Day Celebration. Toronto: Queen’s Park, July 1, 2004, and July 1, 2005
Master Class. Ghana Dance Ensemble, University of Ghana, August 2006.
Dance Marathon. Dance Dept., York University, Toronto, Fall 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 & 2005.
Toronto Elementary Teachers Association. Toronto, March 16, 2005.
Forest Manor Public School. Toronto, February 17, 2005.
Roots Festival. Chatham, July 8, 2004.
Annual Black History Month Concert, Afro-Can. Carib. Assoc. of Hamilton. Ham. Winter 2004.
Music Africa and Royal Ontario Museum. Toronto, February 2003.
Multicultural Week Celebration. Toronto: York University, February 2003.
Guyana Ind. Day Festival, L'Amoreaux Community Centre. Scarborough, Spring 2003.
York Youth Connection Summer Day Camp. Toronto: York University, August 2003.
Africa in the Inf. and Tech. Age (African Studies Assoc. Meeting). Wash. D.C., Dec. 2002.
Convergence. Graduate Students Concert, Toronto: York University, Toronto, Nov. 2002.
Children for Peace Concert. North York: Toronto Centre for the Performing Arts, Fall 2002.
Seprewa piece performed with Prof. Robert Simms. Toronto: York University, May 8,
Toronto Catholic District School Board, Int. Language Symposium. Toronto, Spring 2002.
Canada Day Multi-Cultural Festival. Hamilton: Gage Park, Spring 2002.
African Music and Dance Workshop, Banchori Primary School, Scotland March 2001.
Member, Society for Ethnomusicology, 2005, 2008
Member, American Folklore Society, 2007
Member, Dance Ontario, Toronto, 2006
Member, Award Holders Association of Ghana 1999
Member, Junior Achievement Ghana 1999
Member, Ghana Youth Business Trust, Accra 1999
Member, Association of Students of Performing Arts, Legon 1996-1999
Member, Akuafo Hall Hockey Team – University of Ghana, Legon, 1997
Member, Ghana United Nations Association (GUNA) – La Branch Accra 1996
Member, Drama and Dance Club Aquinas Secondary School 1985-1990
 1989/90 Annual Report of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award International Association; P.G. 19 Second from Right in the Photograph of “Award Participants in Ghana put their Hands to Macramé for their Skill Section”