Alseny Yansane stands against a white background with a logo. He wears a yellow headband and multicolored, patterned clothes.

Alseny Yansane

Guinean Drumming and Dance

Alseny Yansane (Eugene) is a master dancer, drummer and culture bearer from Guinea, West Africa. Yansane, an Oregon Folklife Network Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program Master Artist in 2014, 2018, and 2020 acquired his skills training with a myriad of talented master artists and performing in many different groups in Conakry, Guinea's vibrant capitol. Yansane trained and performed with the world-renowned National Ballet of Guinea, Les Ballets Africains, for fourteen years and dazzled audiences all over the US, Canada, Bermuda, and Morocco while traveling with their elite touring company.


Alseny Yansane is a traditional dancer and drummer from the Susu people, an ethnic group predominantly found on the lower coast of Guinea. Since the age of seven, Yansane has been immersed in the music and dance traditions of his native country, Guinea, West Africa, where he learned by working side by side with traditional master artists and trained rigorously in a variety of repertory companies. Yansane’s first teacher was his eldest brother, who brought him to folkloric events and traditional ceremonies where he taught him all the drum parts to a variety of Guinean rhythms along with their corresponding dance steps and incorporated him into his drum and dance troupe. Today, Yansane is not merely an excellent performer and teacher of Guinean polyrhythmic drumming and dance, he also promotes the cultural and historical significance of these artforms.

Artistic performance holds a special place in the Republic of Guinea. After the country gained independence from France in 1958, Guinea's first president, Ahmed Sékou Touré, launched a cultural revolution elevating the performance arts from every geographic region and ethnic group across the country by organizing local, regional, and national competitions that showcased the diversity of traditional Guinean culture. This gave rise to the formation and governmental backing of four national performance companies, Les Ballet Africains ranking as the preeminent. Yansane, who took part in training and competitions during the last years of Toure’s administration, has worked with several of Guinea’s most reputable performance groups, including Kemoko Sano’s Ballet Merveilles and Jean Macuely’s Ballet Sanke. In 1993, Les Ballets Africains recruited Yansane to join their prestigious company where he worked and toured until 2007 when he left Guinea to immigrate to Oregon. Yansane is a 2014, 2018, 2020, and 2023 Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program awardee with Oregon Folklife Network and co-founder and Artistic Director of 501c3 nonprofit cultural arts organization, West African Cultural Arts Institute (WACAI).

Work Samples


Work Sample Videos

Awards and Honors

Master Artist, Oregon Folklife Network Folk & Traditional Arts Apprenticeship (2014, 2018, 2020, & 2023) Lane County Tourism Grant (2011) Oregon Arts Commission Opportunity Grant (2010) Lane Arts Council Community Arts Grant (2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013) Diploma for exceptional work with Ballet Soleil du Afrique Minister of Arts and Culture in Guinea, West Africa Co-founder and Artistic Director for West African Cultural Arts Institute Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Won Tan Nara Drum & Dance Ensemble Founder and Artistic Director, Ballet Manufanyi,Children’s Repertory Drum and Dance Performance Group Performer, Dance for a Reason Performance (2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013) Choreographer and Principle Dancer, music video with Karamba Diabate Dancer, music videos with Fode Kouyate, Yaya Bangoura, Ablo Dancer, Les Ballets Africains (1993); International Tour, U.S and Canada, July 2004; 50 Year Anniversary Jubilee International Tour, U.S. and Canada, February-May 2004; International Tour, Bermuda and Morocco Dancer, Ballet Marveilles Artistic Director, Ballet Sanke Principle Dancer, Ballet Sanke

TAAP Awardee Profile

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