• A Conversation With Dance History: Movement and Meaning in the Cultural Body

      Welsh-Asante, Kariamu; Gordon, Lewis R. (Lewis Ricardo), 1962-; Meglin, Joellen A.; Weightman, Lindsay (Temple University. Libraries, 2008)
      This study regards the problem of a binary in dance discursive practices, seen in how "world dance" is separated from European concert dance. A close look at 1930s Kenya Luo women's dance in the context of "dance history" raises questions about which dances matter, who counts as a dancer, and how dance is defined. When discursive practices are considered in light of multicultural demographic trends and globalisation the problem points toward a crisis of reason in western discourse about how historical origins and "the body" have been theorised. Within a western philosophical tradition the body and experience are negated as a basis for theorising. Historical models and theories about race and gender often relate binary thinking whereby the body is theorised as text. An alternative theoretical model is established wherein dancers' processes of embodying historical meaning provide one of five bases through which to theorise. The central research questions this study poses and attempts to answer are: how can I illuminate a view of dance that is transhistorical and transnational? How can I write about 1930s Luo women in a way that does not create a case study to exist outside of dance history? Research methods challenge historical materialist frameworks for discussions of the body and suggest insight can be gained into how historical narratives operate with coercive power--both in past and present--by examining how meaning is conceptualised and experienced. The problem is situated inside a hermeneutic circle that connects past and present discourses, so tensions are explored between a binary model of past/present and new ways of thinking about dance and history through embodiment. Archives, elder interviews, and oral histories are a means to approach 1930s Luo Kenya. A choreography model is another method of inquiry where meanings about history and dance that subvert categories and binary assumptions are understood and experienced by dancers through somatic processes. A reflective narrative provides the means to untangle influences of disciplines like dance and history on the phenomenon of personal understanding.

      Welsh-Asante, Kariamu (Temple University. Libraries, 2016)
      This thesis examines the philosophical and aesthetic characteristics of dance improvisation in two enormous contexts: Africanist dance forms and the diverse genres that this term encompasses, and postmodern dance practices that grew out of the work of the Judson Dance Theater in the sixties. The impetus for this study grew out of previous research in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso in West Africa where I collaborated with a Burkinabe dancer to uncover how our histories influence our approach to movement-making. I soon realized that we possessed different understandings of dance improvisation, and I endeavor to unpack those differences in this study. I seek to evidence the range of understandings of dance improvisation that exist in the United States by including the voices of six Philadelphia-based artists who I have interviewed for the purpose of this research. Although I initially contacted Olivier Tarpaga, Zakiya Cornish, and Cachet Ivey for their work with African dance genres, and Esther Baker-Tarpaga, Marion Ramirez, and Molly Shanahan for their work with postmodern practices of improvisation, the amount of overlap between the two contexts soon became apparent. In exposing the diverse practices of improvisation, I hope to spark a conversation about what constitutes dance improvisation in the United States.
    • A Study of Injury and its Prevention in First-Year University Dance Students

      Dodds, Sherril, 1967- (Temple University. Libraries, 2016)
      The subject of dance and injury has become an increasingly important area of study for sports medicine, education, and dance studies. However, the majority of current research focuses on professional dancers or pre-professional dancers in a conservatory training context. The research typically overlooks dancers in a university setting who pursue baccalaureate-level dance programs. This small-scale research study therefore focuses on collegiate dancers in their first year of study in a liberal arts dance program. As this population often sustains injuries, the thesis project seeks to examine the management of injury strategies and to create injury prevention guidelines for the liberal arts dance department, its dance classes, and a hypothetical syllabus for a first-year injury prevention course. The research methodology adopts three approaches: a survey of the incoming freshman dance class at Temple University; a detailed study of six previously or currently injured dance students through interview; and a critical assessment of the research on dance injury. The injury prevention guidelines developed from the student injury surveys, interviews, and assessments will focus on basic, yet essential, information regarding injury management and misconceptions, and the guidelines will prepare collegiate-level dancers for future injury challenges they may face.
    • AN URBAN TOPOLOGY OF THE DANCER AS ARTIST Philadelphia 1975-1985

      Franko, Mark (Temple University. Libraries, 2018)
      An examination of inner motivations and outer presentations of selected independent post-modern dance artists, who explored dancing in a wider landscape and cityscape while also creating “alternative” working and living spaces within their community, is glimpsed through the microcosm of an era of independent dance and performance that emerged in Philadelphia’s Old City during the 1970’s and 1980’s. This thesis includes a consideration of philosophical inspirations and movement esthetics built from non-modern dance styles and early dissemination of post-modern techniques, along with the political and social implications of art practices in this environment. Concepts and theory further afield are brought to bear in considering the experimenting sensibility of these dance artists and the roles they played in shaping community and urban life.
    • Becoming Nothing to Become Something: Methods of Performer Training in Hijikata Tatsumi's Buto Dance

      Kahlich, Luke C.; Nagatomo, Shigenori; Welsh-Asante, Kariamu; Williams-Witherspoon, Kimmika (Temple University. Libraries, 2012)
      ABSTRACT This study investigates performer training in ankoku buto dance, focusing specifically on the methods of Japanese avant-garde artist Hijikata Tatsumi, who is considered the co-founder and intellectual force behind this form. The goal of this study is to articulate the buto dancers preparation and practice under his direction. Clarifying Hijikata's embodied philosophy offers valuable scholarship to the ongoing buto studies dialogue, and further, will be useful in applying buto methods to other modes of performer training. Ultimately, my plan is to use the findings of this study in combination with research in other body-based performance training techniques to articulate the pathway by which a performer becomes empty, or nothing, and what that state makes possible in performance. In an effort to investigate the historically-situated and culturally-specific perspective of the body that informed the development of ankoku buto dance, I am employing frameworks provided by Japanese scholars who figure prominently in the zeitgeist of 1950s and 1960s Japan. Among them are Nishida Kitaro, founder of the Kyoto School, noted for introducing and developing phenomenology in Japan, and Yuasa Yasuo, noted particularly for his study of ki energy. Both thinkers address the body from an experiential perspective, and explore the development of consciousness through bodily sensation. My research draws from personal interviews I conducted with Hijikatas dancers, as well as essays, performance videos and films, and Hijikata's choreographic notebooks. I also track my own embodied understanding of buto, through practicing with these various teachers and using buto methods to teach and create performance work.
    • Becoming Undisciplined: Interdisciplinary Issues and Methods in Dance Studies Dissertations from 2007-2009

      Welsh-Asante, Kariamu; Hilsendager, Sarah Chapman; Kahlich, Luke C.; Levitt, Laura, 1960-; Melzer, Patricia, 1970- (Temple University. Libraries, 2012)
      The purpose of this study is to begin to articulate the theoretical identity of the field of dance studies as an academic discipline and to produce a feminist intervention into the phenomena of disembodied scholarship, while asking questions about disciplinarity and interdisciplinarity within dance studies historically and today. My primary research questions are: What are dance studies research methods? And, which research methods, if any, are inherent to dance as an academic discipline? In order to answer these seemingly direct and simple questions, I also question the assumption that we know what dance studies research methods are. In Chapter 1 I first introduce and qualify myself as a dance artist and scholar, connecting my own experiences to my research; I narrate my research questions in detail and describe the significance, limitations, and scope of this project. In Chapters 2 and 3 I provide a history of the disciplinary and interdisciplinary origins of dance studies in higher education and situate that history within contemporary conversations in dance studies on disciplinarity and interdisciplinarity. In Chapter 4 I offer an analysis of the National Dance Education Organization's (NDEO) Research Priorities for Dance Education: A Report to the Nation and The Dance Education Literature and Research descriptive index (DELRdi), an online searchable database that aims to document all literature and research in dance education (not dance studies) from 1926 to the present, as it relates to issues and methods in my own research. In Chapter 5 I identify and describe current research methods found in all dance studies dissertations granted from the 4 doctoral programs in Dance in the United States over a three-year period. This chapter begins to articulate the current theoretical identity of the field. I examine and report on current trends in dance studies research methods and draw comparisons across dance studies doctoral programs, setting the foundation for future discussion of dance studies research methods. In Chapter 6 I summarize the project and make suggestions for the future. A feminist lens is used throughout as a way of providing a feminist intervention into the phenomena of disembodied scholarship by asking questions about research methods (particularly the use of critical theory as a method for research and writing about dance) and if or how particular research methods lead to the production of embodied or disembodied scholarship.
    • Behind the Scenes and Across Screens: Michael Jackson, His Dancing Chorus, and the Commercial Dance Industry

      Dodds, Sherril, 1967-; Franko, Mark; Welsh-Asante, Kariamu; Goldin-Perschbacher, Shana; Powers, Devon (Temple University. Libraries, 2019)
      Behind the Scenes and Across Screens: Michael Jackson, His Dancing Chorus, and the Commercial Dance Industry examines the history, ideologies, and production culture of the Los Angeles commercial dance industry. Michael Jackson was the best-selling crossover pop star of the 1980s, and a recognized vanguard of music video dance who worked with many dancers and choreographers from both “studio” and “street” dance backgrounds. My focus on Jackson, his choreographic and dancing collaborators, the different styles of dance incorporated into their works, and the dynamics and aims of the conglomerate entertainment/advertising industry in which these works were produced contributes to a critical examination of commercial dance more broadly. I argue that during the critical juncture of the 1980s, the works of Jackson and his dancing chorus illuminate both the enduring paradigms and shifting dynamics of the commercial dance industry regarding practices of attribution and recognition, commodity culture and commercialism, and racial politics and ideology. My dual analytic framework of behind the scenes and across screens recognizes commercial dance works as both creative processes and commercial products. Behind the scenes examines creative labor and production practices, shedding light on how the industry functions in social, political, and economic terms. The original intention of the producers frequently differs from how consumers interpret the mass-produced artifacts. Therefore, across screens explores how divergent dance aesthetics, cultural trends, and semiotic tropes circulate via various screen technology, are re-circulated as cultural commodities, and might be received by different audiences. Together, both analytic perspectives reveal commercial dance’s complicated, sometimes contradictory, multivalence, especially regarding race. Methodologically, Behind the Scenes and Across Screens is rooted in dance studies, but draws upon the disciplinary lenses of historiography, production studies, African American cultural studies, racial theory, media studies, and screendance studies. Through archival research, interviews, and screendance analyses, I examine the entangled themes of attribution, commercialism, and race as they manifest in some of Jackson’s most iconic commercial dance works from the 1980s. The focus on Jackson and his chorus illuminates the historically vexed status of dance as labor and divergent practices of credit-giving, how commodity culture and crossover marketing shape the dancing, and how commercial dance variously redresses or reifies past racial politics and contemporary racial ideologies. While I highlight the ways in which commercial dance workers assert their agency and attempt to make dances that offer positive social messages, ultimately the paradigms regarding labor, commercialism, and race in which the commercial dance industry is imbricated curtails progressive political critique.
    • Brothers of the 'Bah Yah!': The Pursuit of Maleness in the Umfundalai Tradition of African Dance

      Bond, Karen E.; Welsh-Asante, Kariamu; Ericksen, Julia A., 1941-; Davis, James Earl, 1960- (Temple University. Libraries, 2014)
      Inaugurated by Kariamu Welsh in 1970, Umfundalai is an evolving contemporary African dance technique that draws movements from African and Diasporan dances. As one of the first of thirteen men to study and perform the technique, Umfundalai reified a North American African male identity, empowering me to navigate American and African American social scripts that posit dancing as a non-masculine activity. This study employs an autoethnographic lens to illuminate men's constructions of gender in Umfundalai. Specifically, the research explores maleness, an experienced gendered agency, among eight male practitioners, including the researcher. Brothers of the Bah Yáh is framed as a multi-layered inquiry that applies phenomenological values and procedures to forward an auto-ethnographic intention. The study's qualitative methodology draws on Max van Manen's hermeneutic phenomenology and Anselm Strauss's applied grounded theory, as well as historical description and dance analysis. Sources of data include interviews with seven Umfundalai men, Umfundalai's progenitor and first dance master; an in-depth research journal recording my own lived experience descriptions and memories of dancing Umfundalai; and videos of selected Umfundalai repertory. The study is informed by the literature of masculine studies, highlighting the social function of masculinities as scripted and learned ideals. There is a dearth of resources theorizing the African American presence in African dance on the American concert stage. Drawing on primary sources, the empirical findings of the study are framed in a historical analysis of the emergence of a male presence in Umfundalai since 1993, including male-inspired developments in the technique. Analysis of in-depth interviews reveal that performing Umfundalai choreography affords men an opportunity to dance a self-determined construction of gender performance and that Umfundalai studio practice can be a site for men's affirmation of their `dancer' identities as well as friction with gender performance. Further, while Kariamu Welsh's approach to developing Umfundalai's movement system may be described as gender-neutral, the continuance of Umfundalai by its dance masters substantiated a gendered Umfundalai in which movement and performance were aligned with scripted conventional masculine tropes. The Brothers of the Bah Yáh: The Pursuit of Maleness in the Umfundalai Tradition of African Dance reveals that `the pursuit of maleness' was a unique construction experienced only by the researcher. Contradicting my initial presumption, the other men in this study found their gendered agency outside of Umfundalai. Moreover, a large majority of men in this study draw significantly on conventional masculinities, namely strength and power, to feel their maleness. Further, a spirituality of solidarity was uncovered - an embodied masculinity that can arise while dancing Umfundalai choreography and observing other men dancing at the same time. The dissertation concludes that expressions of maleness as described by Umfundalai's dancing men have currency in sports and in the larger American and African American communities out of which Umfundalai's dance culture emerges. Strength, power, and spiritual transformation situated in similitude represent commonalities of male experiences. At the same time, Umfundalai choreography can house multiple masculinities. Dances like Kariamu Welsh's Raaahmonaaah! (1989) and my Genesis: The Royal Dance of Kings (1996) serve as portals for masculinities that dismantle the hegemony that erodes the community in which it exists. Further research is needed to understand how dancing men can be a force that dismantles racism, sexism, and homophobia.
    • Choreographies of Disablement

      Franko, Mark; Bond, Karen E.; Dodds, Sherril, 1967-; Walters, Shannon; Giersdorf, Jens Richard (Temple University. Libraries, 2017)
      Choreographies of Disablement interrogates the historical relationship between dance and disability to recognize and define ‘disablement’ as a choreographic concept within contemporary dance practice. Working from choreographic analysis, interviews, and theories of sovereignty and crip time I argue ‘disablement’ grows out of the historical nexus in which Western concert dance, through the paradigm of ballet, was cultivated: the seventeenth century French political sphere and the prestige of a sovereign balletomane King. The performances of French kings in the burlesque ballet choreographies of 1624-1627 serve as the historical center of this research because disability has a political role to play at the dawn of concert dance in the West. This insight provides the historical perspective from which I locate the development of ‘disablement’ in the seventeenth century and identify its emergence in twenty-first century choreographies. This dissertation uses the historical and political significance of the burlesque ballets as a touchstone to then analyze three contemporary sites of choreography produced between 2004 and 2016. Chapter 3 considers the repertory of German choreographer Raimund Hoghe, a queer disabled artist. I focus attention on his piece Sacre – The Rite of Spring (2004), which draws upon dance’s historical, canonical past. Chapter 4 focuses on Disabled Theater (2012), devised by French choreographer Jérôme Bel in collaboration with the Swiss-based company Theater Hora, a professional theater company comprised of performers with developmental disabilities. The piece is composed of theatrical tasks, including the presentation of self-choreographed dance solos. Chapter 5 centers on the collaborative performance work, A Fierce Kind of Love (2016), comprised of Philadelphia-based disabled and nondisabled performers with choreography by US dance artist Nichole Canuso. Taken together, my analysis of these sites questions the state of disability within the discursive space of dance studies, and in turn positions ‘disablement’ as a historically inflected site of choreographic thinking materializing in contemporary practice.
    • Corporeal Modernity: Shared Concepts in the Work of Jackson Pollock, Martha Graham, and Merce Cunningham

      Braddock, Alan C., 1961-; West, Ashley D.; West, Ashley D. (Temple University. Libraries, 2012)
      Although working in two different mediums, Jackson Pollock, Martha Graham, and Merce Cunningham created works during the 1940s and 1950s that share several analogous formal characteristics, as well as a body-centered process that reminded viewers of both the corporeality of the artists and of themselves. My thesis identifies and interprets the formal analogies evident in each the artists' approach to asymmetry, repetition, gravity, and space. I argue that the common aspects among the works of the three artists resulted from their participation in a shared modernist discourse circulating post-war America, especially in New York. This discourse provided the artists access to common sources of inspiration, such as the writings of Carl Jung, Native American imagery, and Asian cultures. Each of these elements characterizes the work of all three artists, along with similar ideas concerning the individual, national identity, and modern technology.

      Bond, Karen E.; Kahlich, Luke C.; Horvat, Erin McNamara, 1964-; Reynolds, Alison (Alison M.) (Temple University. Libraries, 2009)
      This study of the dance experiences of related men and boys pursues overlapping and related research goals. It is an investigation about reflective teaching practice in the process of developing an emergent curriculum for this multi-generational group of men and boys. It is an investigation about the communicative moments between participants through which members expressed their pedagogical regard for each other, their needs, desires and their dance learning. And it is an investigation about this group of men and boys as an example of aesthetic community, a community engaged in expressing and mediating individual style and dispositions through a group process and resulting in deeply shared aesthetic meanings and group style. Fourteen participants in six family groups danced together on seven Saturdays in a small community north of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Participants ranged in age from five-years old to more than forty-five years old. Dance curriculum was designed in reference to the teacher's knowledge and experience of creative movement for primary aged children, and in reference to the teacher's dance performance and choreographic experiences and experiences of parenting. Based on detailed transcriptions of two-camera video documentation of the seven sessions, a narrative analysis thickly describes significant movements of participants, before, during and after the sessions, as well as interactions and participants' utterances. Post-session captioned drawings are discussed in detail following each session. Major findings are then presented as related to three research goals: reflective practice for emergent curriculum design, intersubjectivity as it occurred in this example of inter-generational dance education and an examination of this group of learners as an example of aesthetic community. Findings are discussed in relation to relevant literature and recommendations posed for further research.
    • Dance As Art: A Studio-Based Account

      Margolis, Joseph, 1924-; Solomon, Miriam; Alperson, Philip, 1946-; Bond, Karen E.; Camp, Elisabeth (Temple University. Libraries, 2012)
      This dissertation is an attempt to articulate the conviction, born of ten years of intensive experience in learning and practicing to be a dance performer, that the dance performer, through collaboration with the choreographer, makes an important contribution to how we can and do understand artistic dance performance. Further, this contribution involves on-the-fly-thinking-while-doing in which the movement of the dancer's body is run through by consciousness. Some of this activity of "consciousness" in movement may not be part of the deliberative mentality of which the agent is aware; it may instead be something that is part of our body's natural and acquired plan for how to move in the world that is shaped by years of artistic and cultural training and practice. The result is a qualitative and visceral performance that can, although need not, be a representation of some deliberative thought or intention that a dancer can articulate beforehand. It is also the sort of thinking movement that in many cases can be conceived as expression; an utterance of dance artists that is not limited to the communication of emotion that can be appreciated and understood, at least in principle, by a public or audience. What this means for the Philosophy of Dance as Art includes the following: 1) there may not always be a stable, fixed "work" of dance art that can be identified, going forward, as the only relevant work on which critical and philosophical attention should be focused because of variable, contingent and irreducibly individual features of live dance performances, attributable in large part to the efforts, style and improvisation of particular dance performers; 2) the experience of dance artists is relevant to understand dance as art because experiential evidence of practice can supplement and ground the appreciable properties that we can detect in artistic dance performances; 3) artistic dance performance can be conceived as expression without being expressive of either an artist's felt emotion or of human emotion in general - no particular content is needed as long as there is a content; 4) artistic dance performance conceived as expression can, but need not, function as representation in both the strong (imitative) and weak (referential) sense; and 5) artistic dance performance is real, not illusory and not necessarily either a transformation or transfiguration of the real. Dance as art, like theatre, like music and even, perhaps, like painting, sculpture and architecture, although in less clearly artist-present, extemporaneous and embodied ways, is human-constructed, human-understood, human-driven and a full, rich, interactive and meaningful part of human life.

      Kahlich, Luke C.; Meglin, Joellen A.; Margolis, Joseph, 1924-; Kreinberg, Steven (Temple University. Libraries, 2012)
      Mark Morris is deeply engaged with dance traditions and the classics, but he transforms them into modern, eclectic pieces. He often dissolves the distinctions between reality and fantasy, and good and evil, emphasizing reconciliation and love. Morris sculpts his own story and characters from musical elements within the overarching musical structure, portraying the characters and their emotions through detailed variations of movement quality. Characterizing Morris' dual attitudes as ambivalence, this study aims to highlight the dynamic structure and complexity of meaning in his works. I suggest that Morris' ambivalence is related to his perspective, the way he sees the world.
    • Dancing and the Embodiment of Postsecularism

      Dodds, Sherril, 1967-; Rey, Terry; Welsh-Asante, Kariamu; Williams-Witherspoon, Kimmika (Temple University. Libraries, 2019)
      This dissertation examines the manners in which dancing in Lucumi religious rituals, as a practice in cosmological embodiment, destabilizes and/or subverts normative secular values and structures, and considers what this subversion reveals about the development of civil discourse and participatory parity in the United States. In particular, this dissertation focuses on the destabilization of the public/private binary, the use of secularization by religious communities for their own benefit, the unsettling of the boundaries of the category of religion, and the exposure of the fallacy of secularism as a hallmark of the liberal nation state. The theoretical foundations of the study are in Carribeanist anthropology and postsecularism. Dance and performance ethnography are the primary methods used to analyze two cases studies. The first case study takes place at a Lucumi religious drumming ceremony, known as a tambor, held in the basement of a private home in New York City. The second case study takes places at a Haitian Vodou drumming ceremony held at Riis Beach, in Queens, New York. The findings taken from these case studies suggest that embodiment plays an important, yet often unacknowledged role, in the development of civil discourse, and supports the postsecular argument that in a society defined by plurality, religion(s) offers substantial material in service of the creation of moral frameworks. Dance, in particular, allows bodies and ideas to bridge spaces and ideologies, thus contributing to how individuals perform their identity in society, and to how society envisions itself as a whole.
    • Dancing Black Power?: Joan Miller, Carole Johnson and The Black Aesthetic, 1960-1975

      Welsh-Asante, Kariamu; Kahlich, Luke C.; Williams-Witherspoon, Kimmika; Norment, Nathaniel (Temple University. Libraries, 2011)
      This dissertation examines the work of two African-American female choreographers, namely Joan Miller and Carole Johnson, and their engagement with the Black Aesthetic during the height of the Black Arts movement in America. The work seeks to examine how these subjects articulated, shaped, responded to, extended, critiqued or otherwise engaged with the notion of the Black aesthetic primarily through the mediums of concert dance and choreography. In consideration of the above, I conducted two, single subject case studies with Joan Miller and Carole Johnson in order to better understand the complexity of the experience of these African-American female dance makers during the selected period and gain a richer understanding of the ways in which they did or did not engage with the notion of the Black Aesthetic through the medium of dance. The subjects for the single case studies were selected because they fit the criteria to answer the research question: each woman is an African-American dance maker who was generating choreography and working actively in the dance field during the identified historical period (1960-1975.). The study employs content analysis of individual semi-structured interviews, cultural documents (including but not limited to playbills, photographs, newspaper clippings, video documentation, and choreographers' notes) and related literature (both revisionist and of the period) to generate a robust portrait of the experiences of the subjects under study. Taken simultaneously, critical race theory and Black feminist thought supply an analytical framework for this project that has allowed me to study the intersecting and mutually constitutive aspects of race, class, gender and economic location from a unique standpoint--that of African-American female choreographers during the Black Power/Black Arts Movement era--in an effort the answer the research question and sub-questions central to this project. The dissertation ultimately posits that both Johnson and Miller did, in fact engage meaningfully with key concepts articulated under the banner of the Black Aesthetic during the height of the U.S.-based Black Arts Movement. Moreover, the project asserts that both women extended their understandings of the Black Aesthetic in order to embrace additional issues of interest; namely, gender and class (on Miller's part) and international human rights (on Johnson's part.) As such, this project ultimately discusses the implications of the inclusion of Miller and Johnson's work within the canon of dance history/studies as a radical shift from the dominant narratives concerning the work of Black female choreographers during the period. Additionally, the dissertation asserts that the inclusion of these narratives in the context of literature and scholarship on the Black Power/Black Arts Movement supports moves in contemporary revisionist scholarship interested in broadening the research on the work of women in the creative arts during the period of interest. Lastly, the project suggests new research trajectories and areas of inquiry but explicating Patricia Hill Collins's work on Black Feminist Thought. By looking at the defining characteristics of Collins scholarship, the project extends the discussion on African-American women's epistemology to include dance performance and creation and complicates the role of who is empowered to make meaning through the lens of Black Feminist Thought and in what form.
    • Dancing Down the Floor: Experiences of 'Community' in a West African Dance Class in Philadelphia

      Welsh-Asante, Kariamu; Welsh-Asante, Kariamu; Bond, Karen E.; Melzer, Patricia, 1970-; Williams-Witherspoon, Kimmika (Temple University. Libraries, 2016)
      'Community' is a multivalent concept, subject to a plurality of contexts and constructs that can alter and shift its meaning. As a dance artist, I have encountered myriad understandings and manifestations of 'community' through dance practice, and perceive an intrinsic relationship between dance and 'community.' A 'West African' dance class in Philadelphia — designated as a 'community-based' class by the instructor — provides a rich opportunity to excavate this relationship. The class, one of several offered throughout the city, is located in West Philadelphia. It is an intergenerational class attended by a diverse demographic of participants (race/ethnicity, gender, profession, class, age, ability, etc.) with an array of motivations and goals for participating in class (as made evident through conversations and interviews). All are welcome to attend, regardless of previous experience or skill level in 'West African' dance. My dissertation is a qualitative research study that examines participant experiences and interpretations of 'community,' with attention paid to the socio-cultural/political context of 'West African' dance in the United States, specifically in Philadelphia. Methodologically, this study is situated in sensory ethnography, philosophically oriented in community based participatory research, and draws from phenomenological strategies towards gathering lived experience data. Lived experiences of 'community' are placed in conversation with literature concerned with theories and constructions of 'community' from a range of disciplines, as well as texts that interrogate the historical, sociocultural and political contexts which frame 'West African' dance within the United States. As a member of this particular 'West African' dance class, I situate my own experiences within that of the collective, migrating inward and outward between personal reflection and participant narratives. As such this investigation lies at the intersection of subjective, intersubjective, and cultural knowledge.
    • Dancing in Body and Spirit: Dance and Sacred Performance in Thirteenth-Century Beguine Texts

      Meglin, Joellen A.; Bond, Karen E.; Biddick, Kathleen; Flanagan, Eileen (Temple University. Libraries, 2009)
      This study examines dance and dance-like sacred performance in four texts by or about the thirteenth-century beguines Elisabeth of Spalbeek, Hadewijch, Mechthild of Magdeburg, and Agnes Blannbekin. These women wrote about dance as a visionary experience of the joys of heaven or the relationship between God and the soul, and they also created physical performances of faith that, while not called dance by medieval authors, seem remarkably dance-like to a modern eye. The existence of these dance-like sacred performances calls into question the commonly-held belief that most medieval Christians denied their bodies in favor of their souls and considered dancing sinful. In contrast to official church prohibitions of dance I present an alternative viewpoint, that of religious Christian women who physically performed their faith. The research questions this study addresses include the following: what meanings did the concept of dance have for medieval Christians; how did both actual physical dances and the concept of dance relate to sacred performance; and which aspects of certain medieval dances and performances made them sacred to those who performed and those who observed? In a historical interplay of text and context, I thematically analyze four beguine texts and situate them within the larger tapestry of medieval dance and sacred performance. This study suggests that medieval Christian concepts of dance, sacred performance, the soul, and the body were complex and fluid; that medieval sacred performance was as much a matter of a correct inner, emotional and spiritual state as it was of appropriate outward, physical actions; and that sacred performance was a powerful, important force in medieval Europe that various Christians used to support their own beliefs or to contest the beliefs and practices of others.
    • Dancing Latinidad: Salsa Practices and Latino/a Identity at Brasil's Nightclub

      Dodds, Sherril, 1967- (Temple University. Libraries, 2016)
      This thesis investigates Brasil’s Nightclub, a Philadelphia salsa club, as a site at which notions of Latino/a identity are produced and performed. Research for the thesis was conducted over the course of five months and was ethnographic in nature. From February 2016 until June 2016, the author attended Brasil’s Nightclub and collected participant observations and interviews. Findings reveal how the club accommodates multiple conflicting narratives of Latino/a identity and how these narratives are embodied through salsa dance practices.
    • Dancing With Arthritis

      Welsh-Asante, Kariamu (Temple University. Libraries, 2015)
      This Master of Arts thesis is based on research that I conducted on dancers who have the auto-immune disease of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Rheumatoid Arthritis is a long-term autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the joints and the surrounding tissues. Dancers with arthritis feel pain the joints that can be minor or severe, depending on how they are moving their bodies. This research investigates how dancers with an arthritic body can dance without the experiencing pain in their joints. Arthritis impairs movement because it is a disease that affects the joints. In this thesis, I created movements that could enable arthritic dancers the opportunity to continue dancing. I have identified a movement vocabulary, movement methods, and strategies for arthritic dancers who want and need to move with minimal pain. Movements have been created specifically for the arthritic body. I use my own experiences and challenges as an arthritic dancer to inform this study. My experiences helped me to create movements specifically for arthritic dancers because I am an advocate for those who suffer from arthritis.
    • Diaspora Citation: Choreographing Belonging in the Black Arts Movement

      Welsh-Asante, Kariamu; Franko, Mark; Dodds, Sherril, 1967-; DeFrantz, Thomas; Kapchan, Deborah A. (Deborah Anne) (Temple University. Libraries, 2018)
      This dissertation examines the work of concert dance artists within the Black Arts Movement (1965-75) in order to situate the impact of their work in the present. I use a method of diaspora citation to comprehend their choreographic strategies in articulating forms and critiques of belonging that continue to resonate today. My method builds on Brent Hayes Edwards’ theorization of diaspora as an articulated, or joined, structure of belonging (Edwards, 2003). This necessitates attending to décalage, or the incommensurable gaps in experience and differentiations of power across lines of nation, class, language, gender, sexuality, etc. My development of diaspora citation departs from Edwards’ provocative concept metaphor of “articulated joints” as a way to envision diaspora—as the joint is both a place of connection and is necessarily comprises the gaps which allow for movement. I propose that concert dance choreographers in the Black Arts Movement worked through the articulated joints of choreographic intertexts to build critiques and offer alternative structures of diasporic belonging. I define diaspora citation as a choreographic strategy that critiques the terms for belonging to the figure of the ‘human,’ conceived in Western modernity through property in the person, as white, Western, heteropatriarchal, propertied Man. Simultaneously, this choreographic strategy works to index, create and affirm alternative forms of belonging, articulated in/as diaspora, that operate on distinct terms. One way in which the practice of diaspora citation occurs is through Signifyin’ or ‘reading,’ a strategy of indirection and critique developed in African American social contexts. Rather than conceiving of movement as a form of property (on the terms of property in the person) these artists are driven by a sense of connection, motivated by the forms of assembly and structures of belonging enabled by bodies in motion. In their refusals of the terms for belonging to the ‘human’ (i.e. normative subjectivity), the dance artists of the Black Arts Movement examined in this dissertation announce a queer capacity to desire differently. Half a century after the historical Black Arts Movement, this project turns to its manifestations in concert dance as a usable past. The structure of the dissertation moves from 1964 into the present in order to consider the resonances of this past today. Through oral history interviews, performance and archival analysis, and participant observation, this project moves between historical, cultural analysis and embodied knowledge to pursue the choreographic uses of citation developed in Black Arts Movement concert dance contexts that imagined new ways of being human (together) in the world.