A Statement on the Lack of Diversity in Academia with Regard to Dance and Theatre Arts
The scholarly study of dance and other theatre arts forms in American academia lacks diversity. As a consequence, primary sources specifically, and knowledge in general, of African dance systems, dance in the African Diaspora, and world dance on an academic level is scarce compared to its European/American counterpart. Thus, this course will focus heavily on dance systems and styles originating in Africa and the African Diaspora.
Dance is the oldest form of human expression. Dance History I, the first course in a two course series, is a theoretical course that examines the history of dance in Africa from antiquity to the 20th century. The course discusses the history of dance through an examination of its cultural origins in Africa, and the impact of those origins on history, and culture. The purpose of the course is to challenge students to think of African dance specifically, and dance generally, outside of the restrictive notions of entertainment, and to engage the rich historical and theoretical narratives embedded within the artform. Lastly, Dance History I is an interdisciplinary course. It examines the history of dance through the lens of anthropology, African studies, geography, archaeology, migration studies, the visual and performing arts, and DNA studies. This course is designed for first and second year undergraduate college students with no prior knowledge of African and/or African Diaspora dance.
The content on this website is provided to supplement Dance History I class discussions, readings, research, writings, and other course activities described in the syllabus.
Click the PDFs below to gain access to supplementary course materials.
I created the short-form documentary, History Dances: African Dance Systems as Methodologies to serve as a supplement to my History Dances monograph. It provides visual support for the argument that African dance systems can be utilized as primary sources for research and writing historical narratives.
DIRECTOR/RESEARCHER/WRITER - Ofosuwa M. Abiola
Dundunba, Guinea, West Africa
Zaouli Masked Dance, Ivory Coast
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