History Dances:


Chronicling the History of Traditional Mandinka Dance

Historical Perspectives on Dance in Africa

The field of history is founded on the interrogation of written documents from the past. However, culture is the center of life in Africa. As a result, in the past – and to a degree in the present – the process for documenting events in Africa was not written, it was performed. History Dances: Chronicling the History of Traditional Mandinka Dance argues that a wealth of information is housed within traditional Mandinka dance and, consequently, the dances can be used as an African-derived primary source for writing African history. Ofosuwa M. Abiola highlights the overall value of studying Mandinka dance history specifically, and African dance history generally, as well as addressing the issue of scarcity with regard to primary sources for writing African history.


History Dances proves to be a vital read for both undergraduate students and scholars in the fields of dance history, African history, performance studies, and cultural anthropology.

The market is saturated with dance history books solely representing European narratives. Those dance history books that do include representations of Black dance-making, primarily discuss a few popularly known historic Black dance artists. More alarming, African dance history is often not discussed at all. Historical Perspectives on Dance in Africa, seeks to introduce undergraduate dance history students to the history of locations in North, West, South, and Central Africa, and to the dances that influence and are impacted on by that history.


Historical Perspectives on Dance in Africa proves to be a vital introductory text for undergraduate students with little to no experience or prior knowledge of African dance history.