Conference focuses on future, new directions

Feb. 04, 2014 @ 03:47 PM

More than 75 presenters will gather on Duke University's East Campus this weekend for the African Diaspora Dance Conference where they will consider the global impact of this Diaspora on forms of dance that include tap, hip-hop, salsa, swing and samba.

"We're excited. We're really glad it's happening. We want to feel inspired in new directions," said Thomas F. DeFrantz, Duke professor of African and African American Studies and Dance. DeFrantz also heads the Collegium for African Diaspora Dance formed in 2012 at Duke. This organization planned the conference that is drawing more than 75 presenters and 150 attendees to the event.
The Collegium will also publish, through Duke Press, an anthology of new writing about black dance, drawn in part from papers presented at the conference, DeFrantz added.
Presenters and attendees include teachers, educators, researchers and artists. In addition to the presentation of scholarly papers, workshops will offer opportunities to move. Several artists will offer performances of their work.
Sunday events are free and open to the public as are two film screenings on Saturday at White Lecture Hall on East Campus. Anna "Rokafella"  Garcia will introduce her film, "All the Ladies Say,” at a screening from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. The film highlights the lives of six female street dancers, who have carved out a niche in the physically challenging male-dominated breakdance world.
Thomas Guzman Sanchez will introduce his film, "Underground Dance Masters,” screened from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. The film focuses on the hip-hop scene in Fresno, Calif., in the 1980s.
Urban Bush Woman founder/artistic director Jawole Willa Jo Zollar will participate in a panel that includes DeFranz, for a discussion of "The Future of Black Dance.” The event takes place Saturday from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. "I've asked them to consider what black dance will be like in 2060 and 2114," DeFrantz said.

The African Diaspora Dance Conference takes place Friday through Sunday on Duke University's East Campus. Registration is now closed but Sunday events will be free and open to the public and so will two film screenings on Saturday at White Lecture Hall. "All the Ladies Say," will be screened from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. "Underground Dance Masters" will be screened from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
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