Nani Agbeli, known for his energy, athleticism, and precision on stage, is one of the leading Ghanaian dancers of his generation. Born into a family of prominent dancers and drummers in Ghana’s Volta region, Nani was trained by his father, the late Godwin K. Agbeli, who performed with the Arts Council of Ghana Folkloric Company and later served as chairman of the Ghanaian National Association of Cultural Groups.
Nani went on to study with various artists at the National Arts Center in Accra and, for many years, led the award-winning cultural troupe Sankofa Roots II. For nine years, he served as the lead drum and dance instructor at the Dagbe Cultural Center, a school that trains domestic and international students in Ghanaian traditional arts.
In the United States, Nani has taught Ghanaian drumming and dancing and led performing ensembles notably at Tufts University and Harvard University among others. In addition, he has taught at Berklee College of Music, the Edna Manley School in Jamaica, Bowling Green University, and the University of Virginia, and has held artistic residencies at many other colleges.
While teaching at Tufts and Harvard, Nani served as Artistic Director and Lead Dancer of the Agbekor Drum and Dance Society, a community-based group in the Greater Boston area founded by Professor David Locke of Tufts University (www.agbekorsociety.org). Nani Agbeli leads study tours to Ghana in July and August and is available for performances, workshops, residencies, and lecture-demonstrations.
Nani currently lives in Los Angeles where he is a Professor and Director of Ghanaian West African Music, Dance and Arts at The Herb Alpert School of Musc at California Institute of the Arts.