What are the interrelated processes of movement, migration, and memory, as they are forged and reconfigured through dance and gender for African diaspora women artists?
The premise of this project relies on an understanding that Dance Studies and Migration Studies have much to contribute to one another, for both take human movement as their focus of investigation. In this project we center this convergence within African and African Diaspora Studies, acknowledging the many ways in which migration from Africa is not a new phenomena. How can previous iterations of migration and diaspora inform current investigations of African migration, and migration in general? We are curious to convene this meeting of diverse African and African diaspora dance artists to explore the many manners in which movement constitutes culture, embodied practice engenders place, and travel informs kinesthetic imagination.
We met in 2016, 2018, and 2020. A gathering to catalyze a dialogue around experimentation and global black presence in diasporic women’s creative work, exploring how African diaspora dance arts mobilize feminisms, memory, and decolonizing pedagogies.’ The researchers worked from their creative practices, and constructed responses to a series of prompts, including How do you conceive of diaspora, and what does “Africa” mean to you? How do you engage its contours? How do you imagine an embodied philosophy that feeds your practice? In what ways do you cultivate collective possibilities and the presence of the individual in your work? How do you think of “feminist performance?” Is there an “essential feminine” energy that is important to your creative practice?