Modernism, Métissage and Embodiment: Germaine Acogny's Modern African Dance Technique, 1962-1975
Committee memberDodds, Sherril
Contemporary African Dance
Permanent link to this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12613/534
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AbstractThis dissertation positions Germaine Acogny’s Modern African Dance Technique (“the Technique”) as a mode of knowledge that reveals insight into nationalism, Négritude, modernism and perspectives on modernity during the early years of Senegal’s independence. By investigating the Technique in relationship to its historical context, this study aims to identify how cultural and political values, which comprise the Technique’s embodied knowledge, are evident in its aesthetic design and philosophical underpinnings. A hybrid methodological approach is employed that merges theoretical analysis with autoethnography. Fieldwork in Senegal, archival research, interviews and embodied practice informed this study. A new theoretical frame, Wòrándá, is introduced that contributes to existing theories on embodiment in African and Diasporic dance techniques and performance. The findings of this dissertation conclude that the Technique sits at the junction of African and Euro-American cultural templates, which coalesce in the production of a codified movement technique that both embodies and confronts constructivist influences. Correlations are suggested between the Technique, Africentric perspectives and cultural nationalism. The Technique also fulfills Léopold Sedar Senghor’s vision of métissage (cultural blending) and cultural progress. Each of these ideological influences underscores the Technique’s significance as a modernist intervention on the genre of neo-traditional African concert dance, as its progenitor seeks to challenge dominant expectations of the African body in dance.
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