Online, The Dance Historian Is In: The Dance Historian Is In: Performance as Research in the Afrofuture
For this Dance Historian Is In, Dance educator and Black popular culture scholar Dr. Halifu Osumare speaks about her book, Dancing the Afrofuture: Hula, Hip-Hop, and the Dunham Legacy (2024), which chronicles the next stage in her life and career from dancer-activist to academic scholar following her 2018 memoir Dancing In Blackness. Hailing from the Bay Area in California, Osumare began studying with the great Katherine Dunham in the late 1980s, after founding her own Africanist dance center in Oakland. She also founded her own national dance initiative, Black Choreographers Moving Toward the 21st Century.
Dr. Osumare presents from Dancing the Afrofuture exploring her relationship with Dunham while studying hula in Hawai‘i and simultaneously researching and publishing a book about global hip-hop, all while earning her doctorate from the University of Hawai‘i. In so doing, Dr. Osumare demonstrates how performance as research is at the heart of Dunham’s legacy, as she explores the Afrofuture.
For more than 10 years, The Dance Historian Is In at the Library for the Performing Arts has highlighted a diverse range of dancers and choreographers across history. This series began when archivist and historian David Vaughan started volunteering at the Jerome Robbins Dance Division. Vaughan began a monthly program showing his favorite dance films from the Division's extensive collection, through which he unearthed many treasures, and helped acquire in even more. Vaughan continued the series until the end of his life. Today, we honor his memory and work by inviting dance historians from all over the world each month to carry on the tradition of highlighting dance history through the Dance Division's moving image collection.
Photo Credit: Headshot of Dr. Halifu Osumare. Photo from author's personal archives.
This event will take place online via Zoom as well as in person at The Library for the Performing Arts.
*A streaming link will be emailed to everyone on the morning of the event for those wishing to attend virtually.
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