The American Dance Experience and Africanist Dance Practices

A studio course introducing students to American dance aesthetics and practices, with a focus on how its evolution has been influenced by African American choreographers and dancers. An ongoing study of movement practices from traditional African dances and those of the African diaspora, touching on American jazz dance, modern dance, and American ballet. Studio work will be complemented by readings, video viewings, guest speakers, and dance studies.

Sample reading list:
Dixon-Gottschild, Brenda, Digging the Africanist Presence in American Performance
Emery, Fauley Lynn, Black Dance from 1619 to Today
Steans, Jean and Marshall, Jazz Dance, The Story of American Vernacular Dance
Goellner, W. Ellen, Murphy, Jacqueline Shea, eds., Bodies of the Text
Desmond, Jane, ed., Meaning and Motion
Foster, Susan, ed., Choreographing History

Reading/Writing assignments:
Mid-term paper (4-5 pages). Final paper (5-6 pages). Two final dance studies. Readings: 50-100 pages per week. Dance studies every other week. Video viewings every other week.

Prerequisites and Restrictions:
Some form of social dancing, good, natural movement aptitude, or former dance training. This is an OPEN ENROLLMENT course.

Other information:
This course is primarily an experiential studio course. Its intent is to focus the first half of the semester on African dance aesthetics and relevant movement practices and the second, on several contemporary American choreographers whose work has been influenced to various degrees by these traditions.




Mondays and Wednesdays
2:30 - 4:20 pm


Dyane Harvey-Salaam