Iddi Saaka

ghana/united states

Iddi Saaka is a versatile and award-winning West African dance and music performer, as well as a teacher who specializes in Ghanaian dance and music forms, and contemporary dance. Saaka holds a Diploma (with distinction) in Dance from the University of Ghana and an MFA in Dance from University of California, Los Angeles. He has performed and taught nationally and internationally in several venues including Los Angeles, New York, Connecticut, North Carolina, Florida, Israel, Ghana, Burkina Faso and Guinea. In 2003, he performed for the president of Israel. 

He has created original multifaceted works that address the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Ghana and Malawi and has worked with youths in detention centers across Connecticut, as well as with physically challenged youth in Israel, using dance and music to equip them with lifelong skills such as anger management, respect for cultural diversity, and inclusivity. Saaka has also performed in K-12 Schools and adult residential care facilities across California, Connecticut and Israel, sharing the power of music and dance to build community and educate about cultural diversity and respect for difference. 

Saaka is assistant professor of dance at Wesleyan in Middletown, Connecticut USA. He won Wesleyan’s prestigious Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching award in 2019. Saaka also served as Visiting Instructor of Dance at University of California, Los Angeles, University of California, San Diego and the University of Ghana. His research takes shape in three distinct and interrelated forms: teaching in a variety of diverse and critical contexts, choreographing for the concert stage, and social practice engagement with communities. These three spheres combine to develop new knowledge, interrogating old ideas, in and through the area of West African arts and performance.