Wacheva Cultural Arts, Inc
Welcome to Wacheva Cultural Arts, Inc a Not-For-Profit with 501c3 status organization dedicated to promoting and strengthening the creative capacity of Central New York.
Based in Syracuse’s historic Westcott neighborhood, Wacheva presents classes, workshops and performances involving multicultural dance, drumming and fitness. We recognize the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion, and use our programming to build individual and community well-being.
Our Mission: The creative and educational development of youth and adults, by highlighting arts and cultural experiences from around the world in the form of dance and rhythm classes, performances and community-building events.
Our Vision: To bring the community together through creative and cultural experiences. We believe multicultural arts creates moments for others. Such expression builds a dynamic, diverse and powerful inner community, infusing the outer community with creative, positive energy.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of Wacheva in Syracuse. Executive and Artistic Director Biboti Ouikahilo founded the organization in West Africa in 1994. (“Wacheva” means “unity” in his native Gouro language.) After moving to Syracuse, he re-established Wacheva as a nonprofit community-based organization.
Since opening doors in 2009, Wacheva has organized, presented or sponsored a wide range of programs throughout CNY, encompassing African dance and drumming, yoga, salsa and dance-fitness.
Biboti and his faculty regularly appear at schools, colleges and universities, and headline events such as the Great New York State Fair, the Westcott Street Cultural Fair, the Juneteenth Festival and Syracuse University’s MayFest.
- African dance and drumming classes and workshops
- African dance and drumming performances
- Music and dance masterclasses
Wacheva also provides space for small-group meetings, classes, performances and other types of gatherings. For rental information, call 315.396.0748.
Wacheva promotes the creative and educational development of children and adults. All of our events involve people from different backgrounds, coming together to share one another’s creativity and culture.
Executive and Artistic Director
Biboti is a world-renowned African dancer, drummer and choreographer. Born and raised in Ivory Coast West Africa, he joined the Ivory Coast National Dance and Drum Company in 1980, and crisscrossed Europe and Africa for the next 17 years as one of the company’s star performers, teachers and choreographers.
In 1997, Biboti relocated to New York City, where he taught at Lehman College and the Djoniba Dance & Drum Centre. He eventually caught the attention of musician Jimmy Buffett, with whom he toured in 2000-01, and actor Bruce Willis, who featured him in the 2003 war-drama “Tears of the Sun.”
Biboti has lived in Syracuse since 2003.
The Role of Arts Education
Wacheva believes people of all ages deserve to learn, grow and create. Hence, we offer hourly and daylong programs, as well as weeklong artist residencies.
Studies show that multicultural music and dance provide myriad benefits for students in grades K-12. Our programming …
- Boosts self-confidence
- Builds upper-body strength and improves cardiovascular fitness
- Sharpens the brain, promoting communication and performance skills
- Teaches the value of teamwork
- Brings cultural history to life, turning students into participants, rather than spectators
“Music and dance have flourished in Africa for thousands of years,” says Biboti, a native of the Ivory Coast. “Wacheva’s hands-on activities not only create a positive, inclusive space, but also foster a sense of community. There is something primal about what we do that connects people at a core level.”
Wacheva specializes in two kinds of in-school programs.
An Hour-Long African Dance and Drumming Workshop
- Designed for 50-60 people
- Students separate into two groups—one for dance, the other for drumming. After 30 minutes, they switch places
- In addition to basic rhythms and simple dance movements, students learn about the symbolic and historical significance of what they are performing
- The program culminates with everyone coming together to perform a traditional African song, accompanied by live drums
- Wacheva provides all instruments
A Daylong African Dance and Drumming Workshop
- Designed for an entire school (up to 1,000 students)
- Students file into groups, and participate in six 45-minute sessions, exploring basic rhythms, hand patterns and movements
- The program culminates with a brief joint performance, featuring live percussion
- Wacheva provides all instruments
Members of Wacheva also are available for in-school performances. The programs are highly interactive, and include a brief Q&A session and dance tutorial.
About our dance group
Wacheva Cultural Arts dance group consists of many dancers and drummers based in Syracuse, NYS and USA.
The group performs with local dancers at various Schools, from K-12 colleges, Universities, and other organizations events, and offers all types of African dancing, drumming, and song performances.
The group is able to provide highly dynamic, energic and multifaceted traditional performances that include professional African’s performers living here in USA.
Our performance concludes with an invitation and demonstration for the audience to dance and experience some of our movements.
For school groups students will have time to ask questions to the performers.
Biboti Ouikahilo artistic director and the group exude the joy and human Spirit one might imagine seeing in a celebration in his native Ivory Coast and Africa.
Our performances and team-building exercises are also ideal for:
- Community groups
- Colleges and universities
- Businesses (e.g., staff retreats)
- Athletic and creative arts organizations seeking cross-training opportunities
“We are here to serve the community, expand the understanding of cultural diversity and promote health and wellness. What we do is not just a social responsibility, it is a calling.”
Board Vice President
and Mindful Movement Instructor
“It was a great day of workshops and performances. Thank you for providing a wonderful experience. “
M.W. Cuyler Elementary School
Red Creek, New York
“My nine-year-old daughters and I love the drumming and dance classes. They are a fun way for us to spend family time. We look forward to learning new moves every week.”
Kelly G Syracuse, New York
“I totally recommend Wacheva’s yoga classes. The instructor is very nice, and her classes are suitable for any age and fitness level. She has this amazing energy, and is willing to work on special muscles or exercises, if we ask her.”
Gabriela B. Syracuse, New York
“Wacheva’s salsa class is the highlight of my week—date-night for my wife and me. I’m discovering dance moves I didn’t know I had.” Rob M. Syracuse, New York
Wacheva Cultural Arts, Inc
117 Harvard Place
Syracuse NY 13210
Wacheva Cultural Arts is a 501(c)(3), approved by the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt, charitable organization.
To give financially mail to address above or go to
Wacheva Cultural Arts Board of Directors
Paula Dodd, President
Anita Bueno, Vice President
Lisa Ruggero, Secretary
Rindi Tas, Treasurer
(We, as a non-profit organization are always looking for people to help out in time, talents and treasures. To give to this wonderful 501c3 visit link below.
Your financial contribution will enable us, in particular, our cultural, physical and wellness program. And, therefore, strengthen our various actions in our community. Your generous donation will be tax deductible.)