Melba Ayco, founder and Artistic Director of Northwest Tap Connection, is a Gullah-Geechee and Creole Storyteller, Tap Dance Historian, and Choreographer. Born in a small town on the north shores of New Orleans, she describes her life as a three-part harmony: born into segregation, survived integration, and enlightenment through cultural diversity. Her life commitment is to define and share the African American experience through the performing arts.
Ms. Melba is the creator of African American Odyssey, a touring performance inclusive of spoken word, dance, and music that expresses the history and struggles of African Americans from a place of pride. Her new work, Odyssey, explores the common threads of culture, inclusive of dance, music, food, art, and traditions of African Americans and people of African Diaspora. Odyssey is a work-in-progress and the inspiration for creativity in the realms of dance, spoken word and storytelling. Odyssey 1 was presented at Seattle Theater Group’s 2015 production “Dance This – the Brazilian Connection.”
Through her dedication to the community and offering opportunities for growth and enlightenment for people of all ages and backgrounds, Ms. Melba has made a lasting, positive imprint on the greater Seattle area. To this end, she has received numerous accolades including the 2009 Mayor’s Art Award, the 2017 African Town Queen Award, and the 2017 Martin Luther King Medal of Community Service Award for District No. 2 of the City of Seattle.