“We as dancers really need to own our own stories and begin to tell our own stories” Halifu Osumare, August 3, 2020. Camille A. Brown & Dancers’ “Social Dance for Social Distance”
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.
The podcast is here! It’s the Arthur Mitchell, founder of Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH), Tribute aired Wednesday, September 26, 2018 on AfroBeat Radio. Now you can listen to an edited version of the Tribute. Enjoy as DTH’s Artistic Director, Virginia Johnson and former dancers Karen Brown, Dr. Adesola Akinleyke, Dion Wilson, and Lorraine Grave share their life as dancers, students, and mentees pay tribute to the late Arthur Mitchell!
Wuyi Jacobs (host of AfroBeat Radio) and I co-produced this show and podcast: https://www.afrobeatradio.com/arts-entertainment/2018/12/3/arthur-mitchell-mar-27-1934-19-2018-a-tribute
On Monday December 3, 2018 Arthur Mitchell Memorial took place at Riverside Church. In 2019 Dance Theatre of Harlem will Celebrate 50 Years. Join in the Celebration!!
AfroBeat Radio at BROOKLYN COMMONS, 388 ATLANTIC AVENUE, BETWEEN BOND & HOYT STREETS, BROOKLYN, NY 11217
REGISTER at the door. More Information: HERE
Though embodied practices that center on African Diasporic (Black) body technologies of reasoning in and through ecstatic joy, CJ/ER workshop is an exploration and examination of critical joy that is embodied and thereby potentially resurrective. In CJ/ER workshop the body’s abilities are directed to manufacture (real and/or imagined) spaces/place for reconstruction, reconfiguration, and realignment of self-to-self, self-to-community, and self-to-divine. CJ/ER workshop participants will be guided through techniques and experience processes for igniting Critical Joy/Ecstatic Reasoning into daily life, and discovery and re/imagine inner embodied resources for navigating through and making sense of life in a problematic world.
When: 8:30 – 10:00 pm Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Where: BROOKLYN COMMONS, 388 ATLANTIC AVENUE, BETWEEN BOND & HOYT STREETS, NYC 11217
REGISTER at the door. More information HERE
Rest in Peace….
Some years ago (no need to mention how many), I began a journey with the explicit translation of text to movement/dance. If I am being honest, my choreographic process, for as far back as I can remember, always began with the translation of the images in my head and/or sensations in my body to text. I would then, through numerous studio sessions, translate the text to movement/dance and in the process sculpt out the essence of a story. It is for this reason, I have journal loads of choreo-text, some became fully realized dance works, while others await their dance life.
My collaboration with Joanne Kilgour Dowdy began in the latter years of the 1990s when we were both based at Georgia State University. In that first collaboration we translated her PhD dissertation to dance. During subsequent years we collaborated on other projects, one of which was Carmen Montana: a story of literacy on the move. Base on the true story of an adult literacy student’s struggle to gain literacy and self actualize, the making of Carmen Montana took Dowdy and I on our own powerful journey. On this video the then Dr. Dowdy, now Professor of Literacy Studies School of Teaching, Learning and Curriculum Studies at Kent State University, Ohio, interviews me about the rehearsal process of Carmen Montana: a story of literacy on the move.
Halifu Osumare in conversation with Ruthlyn Salomons, Resident Dance Supervisor at Lion King On Broadway, former dancer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Mikhail Baryshnikov White Oak Dance Project, Donald Byrd/The Group and Assistant to the Choreographer of The Color Purple on Broadway. At Gavin Brown, Osumare and Salomons discussed Dancing in Blackness, A Memoir.
A surprise audience guest, the amazing Sylvia Waters
Halifu Osumare speaks with graduate students and dance educators at The JODY -the Arnhold Graduate Dance Education Program at Hunter College of the City of New York.
Dancing in Blackness, A Memoir
An amazing reunions!!
Halifu Osumare and Ntozake Shange interviewed by Wuyi Jacobs, host of Afrobeat, on WBAI.
The reading at the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College. Osumare read from Dancing in Blackness, A Memoir and Shange read from Wild Beauty: New and Selected Poems; they then engaged in stirring conversation.
Halifu Osumare inaugural speaker at The Jody, the new dance research center at Hunter College, Arnhold Graduate Dance Education Program.
In early March, I took on the task of organizing the NYC tour and launch of Professor Halifu Osumare’s newest book, Dancing in Blackness, A Memoir. It is now two week to the opening event on May 17th, 2018 from 3:00 – 5:00 at the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter , where Halifu Osumare will be join by her lifelong friend Ntozake Shange.
The authors will read from their newest publications, Shange released Wild Beauty: New and Selected Poem in late 2017, and enter into conversation about the intersections of their lives and careers, highlighting ways in which dance nurture and fortify them as artist, activists, and educators. Come join Osumare and Shange on this first stop of Dancing in Blackness, A Memoir book tour! Reservations are highly recommended. Click HERE to make your reservation.
But if you cannot make it…
Join Osumare on May 18, 2018 at 6:30 at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, Harlem location – 439 west 127 Street. Osumare will read from Dancing in Blackness, A Memoir surrounded by Arthur Jaffe”s exhibit AIR ABOVE MOUNTAINS, UNKNOWN PLEASURES –
in which Jaffe “expansively extends his exploration of ontological Blacknuss* as a generative and pluripontantial phenomenon—one capable of addressing the social stresses weight, fissures and breaks of being Black—and concomitantly, Black Being and Thingification—in the world” Greg Tate, 2017.
Osumare’s Dancing in Blackness, A Memoir reading will engage visual arts and dance as co-collaborators in the making and deployment of blackness as an audacious response to experiences of living-while-black in contemporary western spaces. Make your reservation at RSVP@GavinBrown.Biz, or call 212/627-5258
But, if you cannot make it to this event …
Join Osumare on May 21, 2018 in Brooklyn at Greenlight Bookstore, 632 Flatbush AveBrooklyn, NY 11225 location. Co-hosted by Urban Bush Women, Osumare will read from Dancing in Blackness, A Memoir and enter into conversation with Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Founding Artistic Director and Chief Visioning Officer of Urban Bush Women. Osumare and Zollar’s conversaton will highlight dance as a tool for community building and social justice. Reserve your seat through the following Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/2476394135919639/
Reward yourself... Make it to one of more stops on Dancing in Blackness, A Memoir NYC Book Tour!! You will get sustainable fuel for living a dance inspired life, and tools to build the better world many persons of goodwill truly seek.