Program Overview

On this program, you will have the unique opportunity to participate in festivals, rituals, ceremonies, and initiation celebrations in a Northern Ghanaian village. You will fly into the capital city Accra, then spend the next day traveling to the northernmost region of Ghana where you will stay in the traditional dwellings of our Site Director, who was born in a room near the one you will be living in.

The first week of the program will be spent learning the culture and customs of the Dagara people in the place where it originated. You will also begin to learn Ghanaian dance traditions and how they weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life. You will then return to Accra for a week of intensive instruction by highly skilled Ghanaian dancers, as well as classes in traditional arts such as tie-dyeing, kente weaving, blacksmithing, and more.

You will spend the second week of the program receiving small group instruction from professional dancers and master musicians at a dance and music center in the capital city, Accra. You won’t find another program like this out there, so apply soon before it fills up!

I learned so much, not only art, music and dance, but important life lessons. Everyone was so giving and accommodating. The teachers were really thorough with dancing instructions…I learned how to make Adinkra prints, batik, calabash bowl and jewelry art, and basket weaving. I had the most amazing and personal experience!

Performing Arts Points of Interest

Alliance Française d’Accra

The Alliance Française d’Accra is a cultural center aimed at preserving and educating the public on French language and Franco-Ghanaian culture. The center offers dance performances as well as art exhibits. The center also offers French courses from beginner to specialized advanced levels. The alliance organizes 5 festivals a year: the Francophonie Festival, Live in Accra Jazz Festival, Gastronomy Festival, Future Fest Electronic Music Festival, and the Accra Hip Hop Week.

National Theatre of Ghana

The National Theatre of Ghana is a performing arts hub in Accra. The theatre hosts performances and workshops for artists in the area.

Dance Alive International

Dance Alive International is an organization that offers private and group dance lessons and also hosts social dance nights. Their dance styles include kizomba and salsa as well as aerobic and fitness focused classes.

PAA Home Base

Our Ghana programs are based at the Dagara Music Center (DMC) in the village of Medie just outside the capital city of Accra. The family of our Site Director – Bernard Woma – will greet you warmly and welcome you as a member of the family during your stay. You will be provided all meals during your program, and the center has its own generator and water tank to protect against power and plumbing outages. Medie is an incredibly diverse area, and the center is just down the street from a Pentecostal church, a Krishna temple, a Catholic church and a bar! Public transportation will get you from the center to downtown Accra where you can explore a wide variety of markets and performance venues.

The first half of your program will be spent in a small village several hours west of the town of Wa, near the border of Burkina Faso in Ghana’s northwest corner.

About the Location

Ghana is full of life, and is home to a variety of ethnic groups with a wide range of cultural diversity and dance traditions. Blessed with an abundance of gold, the country helped give this area of Africa its name: the Gold Coast. Ghana is a land of plains and low plateaus covered by rain forests in the west and Lake Volta in the east—one of the world’s largest man-made lakes. Accra, home to over 3 million Ghanaians, is a bustling and increasingly modern city with many of the amenities you would expect in your own place of residence. The dance and music center is located on the outskirts of the city in a more residential area with easy access to the city center.

For the first week of the program, you will be traveling to the very northern tip of Ghana on the border of Burkina Faso. This area is the birthplace of an ancient ritual and social xylophone called the gyil, which accompanies a wide range of dances that form the center of many ceremonies of the Dagara people of Northern Ghana. This area is noteworthy for its mud brick dwellings, agricultural practices, and traditional ways of life.


During the first week of the program, you will be living in a homestay with the director of our Center, who was born and raised in the compound where your accommodations will be. You will experience traditional village living, eat meals with a family outdoors, share stories around a fire at night, enjoy the stars with no light pollution for miles and miles, and wake up with the roosters at daybreak.

On the second week of the program, you will stay in dormitory-style accommodations in the dance and music center where you may share a room with several other participants, depending on the number enrolled. The dorm hall is located in the same compound as the Director’s home, and most space is shared communally by participants and the family. Meals are shared outside at picnic tables or in an indoor dining room. There is electricity supported by a generator owned by the Center to protect against power failures, and running water is supplied by a privately owned borewell. There are modern toilets and showers, and one shower with hot water available.

All meals are included in the price of this program.


Depending on the size of the group, your room may be shared with other international musicians or dancers of the same sex. This winter session has lower enrollment than our other sessions, meaning you will have more personal attention and a unique individual experience.

A Day in the Life

The Participant Experience

Sitting on the front porch of the Woma family home in the middle of the dance center in Accra, you hear the sounds of children laughing and playing. A warm breeze brings the smells of fires cooking the evening meal, and whips some dust into the air. In the far northwest corner of Ghana, you count down the seconds to the end of the year as you sit around a fire looking up at the milky way shine the brightest you’ve ever seen it…

The sounds, sights, and smells of Ghana are difficult to forget, and the hospitality you experience from your hosts will live in your memory forever. Your days in the village will be filled with traditions and ceremonies surrounding an annual dance and music festival, and jam sessions lasting late into the night. Your days in Accra will be spent in morning and afternoon training sessions with lunch in the middle, and your evenings will be filled with laughter and storytelling, as you watch (and sometimes participate in!) the cooking of the meal for the center’s guests. Dance is only the beginning of what you will learn during your time in Ghana, as you will have a chance to try your hand at a wide variety of handicrafts and other cultural art-forms. By the time your last day rolls around, you will not want to leave, but we hope you bring the lessons you learn and the dance vocabulary you gain back to your community at home, and share a little piece of Ghana with your friends and family.

On Arrival

You will book your flight to arrive at Kotoka International Airport in Accra (ACC) on December 27th. A PAA representative will be waiting for you in the arrivals areas with a sign that has your name and our logo on it. You will be driven to the dance center in Medie (just outside Accra), and will spend the first day/evening resting and preparing to travel to the village. On the next day, you will spend the entire day traveling to the far north of Ghana on a bus, accompanied by a PAA representative. Depending on bus schedules, you will either spend the night in a guesthouse in the city of Wa or continue straight to the village.

A Typical Day

From December 29th to January 2nd you will participate in a variety of activities stemming from an annual traditional dance and music festival, initiations, and cultural celebrations. Nights will be spent sitting outside with other program participants, our site director, and his family. Without electricity or light pollution for many miles, the stars will be magnificent!

On January 3rd, you will make the trip back to Accra accompanied by a PAA representative. From January 4th to 8th, you will attend two three-hour training sessions each day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The rest of your time will be spent getting to know the dance center family, exploring Accra, learning traditional handicraft techniques, and participating in jam sessions. The Winter Break program officially ends on January 10th, but you have the option to continue training at the music center for additional weeks, at a cost of $765 per week.

Host Group

The dance and music center where you will be training was founded over 10 years ago by one of the most famous players of the Dagara gyil, a xylophone native to the northwest region of Ghana. You will receive instruction directly from this master musician himself (who is also an accomplished dancer), as well as more than a dozen highly trained experienced dancers and musicians from all over Ghana. Guest artists visit frequently to offer courses in batik, tye-dying, kente weaving, drum making, and blacksmithing. The center is also near several historical castles such as the Cape Coast Castle, as well as a number of beautiful Atlantic beaches.

In northern Ghana, you will be hosted by our center’s Director and accompanied to festivals, initiations, rituals, and cultural celebrations by members of our Ghanaian staff. This program gives the special chance to be hosted in both a traditional rural village and urban setting.

Support Staff

Support Staff

Support Staff

Support Staff



“I could not be happier with my experience in Ghana. It wasn’t always easy and definitely required me to be open to new things and personal growth, but I learned so much and met amazing people. I would highly recommend this program to anyone.”

I learned so much, not only art, music and dance, but important life lessons. Everyone was so giving and accommodating. The teachers were really thorough with dancing instructions…I learned how to make Adinkra prints, batik, calabash bowl and jewelry art, and basket weaving. I had the most amazing and personal experience!

“I was very satisfied with my travel experience. I found my home in Ghana and I look forward to more traveling experiences there. I enjoyed the activities. I enjoyed the dance classes as well as the singing classes. I fully enjoyed my time in Ghana.”

From the blog


2014 Video Competition: Video Submission of the Week, Week of September 1st

Enjoy the sites and sounds of our Ghana program with this awesome video created by this past summer’s dance participant, Samantha Pulsifer!


Music in Ghana

In July 2014, I joined PAA Ghana Site Director Bernard Woma and his family at the Dagara Music Centre in Ghana. After more than a day of journeying from the UK, I saw Bernard waiting at Accra airport with a…


Volunteering in South Africa, Where do I begin?

Danielle Toop recently returned from the Dance Volunteer Program in South Africa. The month I spent over can be described as no less than the best month of my life! I was teaching a whole variety of people who are…


Dance to Death

Shanice Stanislaus is a dancer from Singapore.  She is a Dance intern in Spain. Dance to Death is an interactive, entertaining and insightful dance theatre performance influenced by the dance competitions that took place during the Great Depression in North…

Program Dates

Winter 2018

Session Application Deadline Start Date End Date
Winter 2018/2019 Nov 01 2018 Dec 27 2018 Jan 10 2019

Important Winter 2018 Dates

Program Cost

Description Cost
Winter 2018/2019 $3,325
Additional weeks (per week) $765

Apply today — How the process works

Submit a simple online application

Schedule a live video interview with a Program Coordinator

Upload program specific materials to an online portal

Receive your aceptance decision and begin your journey!

How the Process Works

To apply, click the “Apply Now” button below. You will fill out a simple initial application online and pay a deposit that is refundable if you are not accepted, and will be applied toward your overall program cost if you are accepted (not an additional fee). At this point, we will ask you to send us the following materials:

  • Your resume/CV
  • Dance video (optional, not used for acceptance decision, but to give instructors sense of current level)
  • Your availability in U.S. Eastern Time for a 30 minute video interview with your Program Coordinator.
Apply Now

Application Tips

  1. Be clear in your interview about your goals for the program. We work hard to prepare your hosts and give them the chance to design an experience that is customized to you as much as possible. To do this, we need a clear picture of who you are and what you want out of your time in Ghana (and don’t want!).
  2. The Skype interviews are our first face-to-face impression of you. Show up on time, dress well, and be personable.
  3. If you choose to submit a video, you should highlight the dance style you do best, and should choose a high quality video with a strong opening. Videos with other dancers are fine, as long as you clearly identify yourself. We prefer videos to be uploaded to an online platform such as YouTube to allow us to easily share with the dance center instructors.
Request Information

Eligibility Requirements

  • Age

    Participants must be 18 or over the day they begin the program.

  • GPA / Student Status

    There is no GPA requirement for this program, students and non-students are welcome to apply.

  • Language

    There is no foreign language requirement for this program. All training is offered in English.

  • Experience

    We give preference to applicants with at least one year of dance experience, but we welcome newcomers with no dance experience. A video showing your current skill level is helpful for preparing the instructors, but not required for admission to the program.

  • Motivation

    We are looking for open-minded, flexible applicants who can clearly convey their passion for dance and an acute interest in international travel and exposure to new ideas.

Apply Now