Africa, The Birthplace 

The History of Africana Dance: 19th through the 20th Centuries

Course Description

Dance History II is the second course in a two-course series. It is a theoretical course that examines the history of dance in the context of the African Diaspora experience from the 19th through the 20th centuries. The course impels students to think of dance outside of the restrictive notions of entertainment, and to engage the rich historical and theoretical narratives embedded within the art form. Through readings, class discussions, live footage, and online engagement, the course facilitates an understanding of how dance has been used throughout time as a vehicle for addressing social, political, and cultural issues. Dance History II also exposes the often-unnoticed achievements of dance with regard to the deconstruction of historical stereotypes and fallacies. Lastly, the course facilitates an understanding of how dance informs, formulates, and enforces identity. Dance History II is an interdisciplinary course. It examines dance through the lens of African American history, global history, political science, cultural studies, anthropology, sociology, African studies, geography, African Diaspora studies, and the performing arts. This course is designed for first and second year undergraduate college students with no prior knowledge of African Diaspora dance.


The content on this website is provided to supplement Dance History II class discussions, readings, research, writings, and other course activities described in the syllabus.


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Meanwhile the Rest of America was Dancing

African American Dance After 1807

African Dance & the Transatlantic Slave Trade 

Black Broadway to Jazz Era

Vernacular Dance, Popular Dance, 1920s-1940s 

African Dances in the New World

The Ring Shout