Thank you Twinkle. You continue to be Awesome!!
Death: A demanding dance partner, easy to ferocious jealousy and vengefulness when ignored. Death deserves the honor and reverence of its central place in the life cycle of the living. Cultures around the world have historically understood that studied attention to death is essential for the forging of communities in which members can productively negotiate livable lives and well-being. Ceremonies around death require that song, dance, laughter, drink, and verbal roasting of the life that has transitioned to that ultimate Other, death. With death a family, a community, enters into a full-bodied dance of paradoxical reality and imaginings of the dead’s past, present, and future relationship with, to and in the community. In between the one-two rock, the moans that sings and screams, whimpers, the wailings and chest beating, hand wringing and twisting, the dialogue between the death and life is marked by bodies, on bodies, between, in-between and beyond bodies in full embodiment. Death will dance time and again with the living, and the living will, however reluctantly, dance.
The two writers, Toni Morrison and Paule Marshall, served as beacons in my life. They helped me understand that there was language, and that language can be molded and manipulated, to articulate my experience as an African Diaspora girl/woman moving through multiple spaces of un-belonging. And, my two aunts, separated by a decade in age, kept me in deep belonging, never allowing me to mis-remember family history and my place in it. As this summer 2019 comes to a close, I dance in recognition and honor of the lives of these four amazing women.
(This post was originally posted on my Facebook page to mark the death of DTH Founder Arthur Mitchell on Sept. 19, ,2018) Somewhere back in Chicago at my mom’s house, there is a photo of me in all my little 10-year-old impishness, standing in front of the Dance Theatre of Harlem next to Arthur Mitchell. […]
Please take some time to read both articles:
Black history is for sale in Chicago. Whoever owns the culture, controls the narrative
Ebony’s Photo Archives Were on the Verge of Being Hidden Away Forever. Now They Will Be Made Public
Poised To Ban Hair Discrimination
Don’t Let Me Be Lonely
The American Society for Aesthetics is pleased to announce the winner of the 2019 Selma Jeanne Cohen Prize in Dance Aesthetics, Dancing in Blackness: A Memoir, by Halifu Osumare, published by the University Press of Florida in 2018.
Dr. Halifu Osumare is Professor Emerita in the Department of African American and African Studies (AAS) at University of California, Davis, and was the Director of AAS from 2011-2014. She has been a dancer, choreographer, arts administrator, and scholar of black popular culture for over forty years. With a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, and an MA in Dance Ethnology from S.F. State University, she is also a protégé of the late renowned dancer-anthropologist Katherine Dunham and a Certified Instructor of Dunham Dance Technique.
She has been recognized as one of the foremost scholars of global hip-hop, publishing The Africanist Aesthetic in Global Hip-Hop: Power Moves in 2007 and, and The Hiplife in Ghana: West African Indigenization of Hip-Hop in 2012, after her 2008 Fulbright Fellowship at the University of Ghana, Legon. She has published numerous journal articles and book chapters on hip-hop, dance, and Katherine Dunham.
The prize was established in 2008 in memory of Selma Jeanne Cohen, and with enormous gratitude for her generous bequest to the ASA. The $1000 prize is awarded every year, for critical articles or books of distinction in dance aesthetics, dance theory, or the history of dance published in English.
Dr. Osumare will be presented with the prize at the 77th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Aesthetics in Phoenix October 9-12, 2019. She also will be honored at the annual Dance Scholars Breakfast at the meeting.
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