By Thomas F. Defrantz
Few will dispute the profound impression that African American song and move has had in American and global tradition. "Dancing Many Drums" explores that impact via a groundbreaking number of essays on African American dance heritage, concept and perform. In so doing, it reevalautes "black" and "African American" as either racial and dance different types. Abundantly illustrated, the quantity comprises photographs of a wide selection of dance types and performers, from ring shouts, vaudeville and social dances to specialist dance businesses and Hollywood motion picture dancing. Bringing jointly problems with race, gender, politics, historical past and dance, "Dancing Many Drums" levels greatly, together with discussions of dance guide songs, the blues aesthetic, and Katherine Dunham's debatable ballet approximately lynching, "Southland". additionally, there are picture essays: the 1st on African dance in ny through famous dance photographer Mansa Mussa, and one other on 1934 "African opera" "Kykunkor, or the Witch Woman".
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Additional resources for Dancing Many Drums: Excavations in African American Dance
At times during this voyage, there was the insistence that Africans dance to assure whites that they would remain lively enough to be delivered to the auction block in North America. In fact, the total being of African men, women, and children was the 39 40 / 1 : ‘‘Slaves Compelled to Dance during the Voyage to Keep Them Fit and Healthy and so Fetch a Higher Price,’’ ca. 1830 (Drawing by Ruhiere; reproduced with permission of the Mary Evans Picture Library) object of enslavement, and it was not uncommon for the branding iron to be used to identify them.
Later that year Zollar premiered two versions of a dance that explored this theme: for Philadanco, she made The Walkin’, Talkin’, Signifying Blues Hips, Lowdown, Throwdown; for her own company, the New York–based Urban Bush Women, she premiered Batty Moves. (In a program note, the choreographer reminds us that ‘‘batty’’ refers to the buttocks in Jamaica. ) Each version cast Zollar’s gauntlet onto the stage, exploring in dance terms the momentum of the booty as satire, da butt as a treatise for gender education, da backside as initiator of movement, as a source of heat, as fun, as a focal point of conversation and desire, and as a celebration; in other words, the derriere as a cultural aesthetic.
For an extended treatment of African Americans in ballet, see Thomas DeFrantz, ‘‘Ballet,’’ in Encyclopedia of African American Culture and History (New York: Macmillan Library Reference, 1995). See also Thomas DeFrantz, ‘‘Ballet in Black: Louis Johnson and African American Humor,’’ in New Writings in Dance, ed. Anne Flynn and Lisa Doolittle (Banﬀ, Alberta, Canada: Banﬀ Centre Press, 2001), 178–95. 42. Zita Allen, ‘‘Blacks in Ballet,’’ Dance Magazine (July 1976): 65–70. 43. Kariamu Welsh Asante, ‘‘Commonalities in African Dance: An Aesthetic Foundation,’’ in African Culture: The Rhythms of Unity, ed.