AFR 206
African Dance and Percussion Spring 2025
Division II
Cross-listed DANC 202 / MUS 221

Class Details

Before the 20th century, the African continent was the source of dance and music that influenced new forms rooted on and off the continent. These forms are shaped by the impact of religion, colonialism, national political movements, travel, immigration, and the continuing emergence of technology. In South Africa, the labor conditions of miners instigated the creation of Isicathulo, Gum boots, and in Brazil the history of colonialism is a factor that anchors Samba as a sustaining cultural and socioeconomic force. The birth of Hip Hop in the 20th century finds populations across the globe using its music, dance, lyrics, and swagger as a vehicle for individual and group voice. Hip Hop thrives as a cultural presence in most countries of the African continent and in the Americas. We will examine the factors that moved this form from the Bronx, New York, to Johannesburg, South Africa, and Rio, Brazil. We will examine at least two of these forms learning dance and music technique and composition material that will inform their practice. Each of these genres generated physical practices, new and enduring communities while continuing to embody specific histories that have moved beyond their place of origin. What is their status in this century?
The Class: Format: studio; Class hours will be used to learn and use the dance and music of at least two forms including historical context, and individual or group performance project. When possible, our process will include guest artists and field trips to see live performances. As well as use of the archives at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Sawyer Library and the art collection at Williams College Museum of Art.
Limit: 16
Expected: 10
Class#: 3232
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Discussion of assignments, semester long group performance project rooted in the materials taught. Students enrolled for PE credit are responsible only for the performance-based projects
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: students who have taken DANC 107 ,108 or DANC 201; have experience in a campus based performance ensemble; or have permission of the instructors
Distributions: Division II
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
DANC 202 Division I AFR 206 Division II MUS 221 Division I
Attributes: AFR Culture, Performance, and Popular Technologies
GBST African Studies
MUS Ethnomusicology

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