DANC 217
Moving While Black
Last Offered Spring 2022
Division II
Cross-listed DANC 217 / AFR 216 / AMST 212 / COMP 212
This course is not offered in the current catalog or this is a previous listing for a current course.

Class Details

Opening your apartment door, driving down the highway, taking a knee, raising a fist, sitting at the lunch counter then or sitting in a cafĂ© now, these movements have historically and presently prompted fear at a minimum and in the most grave cases death for black people. Whether in the U.S. or globally, moving in the world as a black person often means being perceived as different, foreign and threatening. Crawling, dancing, running and boxing, these movements have countered fear and articulated the beauty, pride, creativity and political resistance of black people. In both cases, black movement matters and means much. While many consider movement to be just organized dance moves, this course expands students’ definitions of black movement and teaches them to analyze multiple perceptions, uses, and reactions to it. “Moving while Black” offers examples of physical movement in improvised and practiced performance, quotidian movement, geographical movement across national borders and symbolic, politicized gestures. Students will investigate black movement via interdisciplinary sources that reflect various time periods and locations. Students may analyze such texts as Jacob Lawrence’s visual art in The Migration Series, the movement of the rumba dance form between Cuba and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s “Revelations,” William Pope.L’s choreographed crawls, the 1995 World Rugby Cup in South Africa, and the 2018 case of a Kansas resident arrested while moving into his own home. Additionally, this course features an important practice element, in which students experiment with in-class movement exercises and workshops, engage with dance archives at Jacob’s Pillow, interview participants of Kusika, and create and perform their own choreographies. While no previous experience in performance is required, curiosity and openness to learning through one’s own body movement is expected.
The Class: Format: seminar; classes will rotate throughout the semester between seminar discussions in the classroom and performance exercises in the studio
Limit: 14
Expected: 10
Class#: 3310
Grading: yes pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: multiple reading/viewing responses in a movement journal, an essay closely analyzing movement; a presentation, and multiple movement-based performances including a final project with outside research and a proposal
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: Africana Studies concentrators
Distributions: Division II
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
DANC 217 Division II AFR 216 Division II AMST 212 Division II COMP 212 Division II
Attributes: AFR Core Electives

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