Kenna-Camara Cottman is known as ‘Ms. Kenna’ to students all over the state of Minnesota, from Duluth to Bemidji, Walnut Grove to Woodbury, and especially in her home community of North Minneapolis. Kenna has worked in the field of dance and art for over 20 years, and has been a full-time artist since 2005. She is a dance educator who teaches about the history of African peoples through art, culture, movement and song. Ms. Kenna teaches African dance to youth at TU Dance Center, as well as managing her own company: Voice of Culture Drum and Dance. Kenna is a Black American Griot, following in the oral tradition of storytelling through art. She has studied traditional and contemporary drum and dance forms from experts such as Ananya Chatterjee, Koto N’Gum, Fode Seydou Bangoura, Backa Niang and William Atchouellou. Combining these forms with her experiences, Kenna creates contemporary Black dance that deals with interesting topics, confusing cultural ideas, and movement-based puzzles. Kenna is also a skilled dancer, and she supports choreographer colleagues such as Pramila Vasudevan and Leah Nelson by dancing in their work. Kenna is also a member of Oyin Dance Collective, a unique collaboration of Black women who study African Based dance forms. Kenna-Camara Cottman is supported by her artistic family, William and Beverly Cottman, Yonci Jameson and Ebrima Sarge. www.kennacottman.com
I am a dancer, a mover in the oral tradition of the Griot. I use movement to process and understand the world. My work as a dancer has several directions. I am interested in traditional forms of the African Diaspora, I use contemporary dance as an investigative tool, and my artistic practice as a dancer is fed by my work as a dance educator.