With Amy Jordan

African American dance and music traditions have played a critical role in the African-American struggle to sustain its humanity and to express joy and pain corporeally and through a particular relationship to rhythm. This class will explore the forms, contents and contexts of black traditions that played a crucial role in shaping American dance; looking to how expressive cultural forms from the African diaspora have been transferred from the social space to the concert stage. Viewing American cultural history through the lens of movement and performance, we will begin with an exploration of social and spiritual dances during slavery and the late nineteenth century when vibrant social dances insisted that black bodies, generally relegated to long hours of strenuous labor, devote themselves to pleasure as well. The bulk of the course will focus on African American protest traditions. This course will provide a strong foundation for students who want to pursue Africana Studies and will acquaint students with methodologies utilized in performance and historical studies.

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