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!
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
There is a Black Arts Movement on the way in Antwerp, Belgium at Zomerfabriek Mama’s Open Mic. Recently I had the opportunity to witness young Black Belgians women read poetry and prose from their toolbox for survival and flourishing in a sexist and racist society. Although my digital notepad failed and I no longer have their names I want to send out good vibes to this community of poets and musicians.
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.