African Dance: An Artistic, Historical, and Philosophical Inquiry

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Kariamu Welsh-Asante
Africa World Press, 1996 - Performing Arts - 254 pages
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This book is a compilation of essays by distinguished writers, critics and artists in the field of Dance and African American Studies who address several areas and disciplines of African dance both on the continent and in the diaspora. Sir Rex Nettleford, the distinguished Jamaican choreographer, professor and writer, stresses in the foreword to the book, the continuity between all dances that derive from Africa and the significance of this book. African dance, he argues, is a dominant, pervasive and empowering force in African communities.

The four themes covered are tradition, tradition and continuity, tradition transformed, and tradition contextualized. African, Brazilian, Caribbean and African American scholars each focus on some aspect of African dance that provide the connecting patterns. Besides Sir Rex Nettleford, other contributors to this book include Pearl Primus, Maware Opoku, Katrina Hazzard-Gordon, Myriam Evelyse Mariani, Cynthia S'thembile West and Omofolabo Soyinka Ajayi.


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A wonderful collection of academic writing each with an alternative angle from which the discipline of African Dance is interpreted. A must for any African dance teacher.
Samba comes from Angola
, Tap dance comes from the African-American slaves and Breakdance started in 1971 when Abdoulaye Diallo of the National Ballet of Senegal, performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
The perspective from which the writers take their stance is strongly rooted in the USA. Little is mentioned of the African music and dance growth in Europe, or its transformation in contemporary Africa in the form of Zuk or Afroeuropen pop, or indeed the perpetual creation of dances which symbolize African pride and nationalism, such as Yuzza in Senegal.
The book is a great collection of work, which has left me with a lingering appetite for more.


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