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Newsmaker: Kadiatou Conte-Forte

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Kadiatou Conte-Forte, 58, artistic director of the Balafon West African Dance Ensemble.
Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013, 10:10 p.m.

Noteworthy: Conte-Forte's Balafon West African Dance Ensemble will perform during the 19th Annual Kwanzaa Celebration on Dec. 28 in Homewood.

Age: 58

Family: Husband, Anthony Forte, 59.

Residence: Highland Park

Occupation: Founder and artistic director of the Balafon West African Dance Ensemble, a nonprofit touring troupe of dancers and drummers who perform at schools and festivals nationwide.

Background: Born in Conakry, the capital of the West African nation of Guinea, Conte-Forte trained as a dancer and toured worldwide with Les Ballet Africains and Ballet Djoliba before founding Balafon in Washington, D.C., in 2000. Balafon moved to Pittsburgh in 2003.

Quote: “It's a celebration. In Guinea, we didn't dance in buildings. We danced in the street. The caliber of our teachers was so strong, and the music was so wonderful, that we were blessed. Being a professional dancer, I still want people to clap for us.”

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