African Contemporary Dance: current developments, challenges and visions
Wed November 2nd 12-1pm
Venue: Bishop Otter Campus: Room LO3
Western perspectives of dance in Africa frequently focus on spectacle and ritual. The newly emerging art form of contemporary dance in East Africa challenges such perceptions. This paper considers the limited training opportunities for artists and the focus of some of their choreographic work. Many artists in the region are driven by a desire to make work which is politically motivated, exploring themes such as female genital mutilation. These choreographers have to negotiate the tension between the need for western financial and artistic support and marginalisation by the western canon. The work also draws on a strong dance tradition in which dance practice has been embedded in communities but often read as spectacle by western audiences. I argue that contemporary dance from Africa offers an important contribution to the art form and the potential to re-consider dance practice in a global context.