The Stage

ZUZU African Acrobats coming to Ames

Stephens Auditorium welcomes acrobatic troupe, ZUZU African Acrobats to the Stephens stage on Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 7 p.m.  Tickets are available at the Stephens Ticket Office or at

The group will also perform for our Martha-Ellen Tye Youth Matinee Series at 10:00 a.m on Tuesday.  Tickets for the matinee performance are available at

Hailing from Tanzania, the ZUZU African Acrobats celebrate the 2,000-year-old Bantu culture of East Africa in every performance. Performing ancient traditions passed on by elders, this troupe delivers incredible acrobatics, energizing African drumming, singing and dancing, and gravity defying stunts while simultaneously displaying the grace, beauty and strength of the Tanzanian culture of East Africa.

“We are happy to welcome ZUZU African Acrobats to the Stephens stage for the first time,” said Tammy Koolbeck, Stephens Auditorium’s Executive Director. “This is a great family friendly event which celebrates East African culture.  Another interesting Ames connection is the Rotary Clubs of Ames’ partnership with the Rotary Club of Same, Tanzania.  This partnership has awarded four Rotary Foundation grants to provide water systems to underserved villages in Same District of Tanzania.”

Some of the highlights of this training include proficiency with the ngoma (drum), contortion (ubishi wa solo), dish spinning (sahani inazunguka), chair balance (kusawazisha kiti), unicycles and bicycle tricks (baiskeli), human pyramids (mazoezi ya viungo) and much more all to the sounds of African beats!  The grace, beauty and strength of Africa stands as living testimony presented through living human art and entertainment.

Artistic Director, Matiga Koba, is a drummer, dancer, and self-taught painter originally from Tanzania. He grew up surrounded by art, music and dance in the historical town of Bagamoyo (a village that lies along the Indian Ocean in East Africa). From a very early age he was performing music and dance throughout Tanzania and abroad, with Shada Group, the SAMAWA project and Bagamoyo Spirits Band (led by Vitalis Maembe).  His passion in the performing arts naturally led him to pick up a paintbrush and explore the new stories that he could tell with it.  In 2010, Matiga moved to the U.S. where he continued performing with various groups, teaching and displaying his artwork at numerous exhibitions in Maryland, DC and NYC.

Over the last decade, he has worked with Mother Afrika Circus, based out of Tanzania, to perform in Dar Es Salaam and Circus Zuma Zuma, before joining ZUZU African Acrobats in 2020.

Iowa State Center Ticket Office
Located at the north entrance of Stephens Auditorium at the corner of Lincoln Way and Beach Avenue.
Hours Monday-Friday, 11 am-4 pm