The Artistic Director


Short bio:

Thomas Talawa Prestø is a prominent dance artist and researcher, renowned for his work in African and Caribbean dance through the creation of the Talawa Technique. As founder of Tabanka Dance Ensemble and a research fellow, he has devoted over 25 years to diversifying the Norwegian art field. Prestø’s work, which emphasizes inclusive and decolonial practices, has significantly influenced the dance world, combining practical skills with academic research. He is on track to become a pioneering Ph.D. candidate in Scandinavia, focusing on decolonial dance and performance, further solidifying his role as a leader in this specialized field.


Longer Bio:


Thomas Talawa Prestø is a renowned dance artist and researcher who is dedicated to promoting inclusive and diverse approaches to dance and performance. As the founder and artistic director of Tabanka Dance Ensemble and the creator of the Talawa Technique, a unique and comprehensive approach to African and Caribbean dance, Prestø has made significant contributions to the dance world. He is also a research fellow at Østfold University College and is set to become one of Scandinavia’s first Ph.D. candidates to focus on decolonial dance and performance practices. With over 25 years of experience working to make the Norwegian art field more open and inclusive, Prestø continues to inspire and educate dancers around the world

Thomas Talawa Prestø is an esteemed dance artist and scholar whose work has significantly shaped the understanding and documentation of dance practices rooted in Africa and the African diaspora. As the innovator of the Talawa Technique, a fully codified and comprehensive system, Prestø has provided a rigorous academic and practical structure to African and Caribbean dance forms, enabling dancers to pursue formal certification in this specialized field.

His 25-year career has been dedicated to elevating the technical and intellectual appreciation of these dance traditions. Through his precise and thoughtful articulation of the Talawa Technique, Prestø has not only contributed to the theorization of these practices but has also actively sought to safeguard the integrity of the black dancing body. His approach ensures that the artistry and professionalism of dancers are maintained and respected within the broader dance industry.

As a research fellow and a prospective Ph.D. candidate focused on decolonial dance and performance practices, Thomas continues to be at the forefront of academic research, ensuring that his practical contributions to dance are matched by a robust theoretical framework. His work has been instrumental in redefining the technical mastery of African and Caribbean dance, ensuring that it is recognized for its complexity and richness on a global scale.