Past Event

Dancing in Blackness: An Academic's Dance Journey with Halifu Osumare

April 9, 2020
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
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Columbia University Faculty House - 60 Morningside Drive

Halifu Osumare. Ph.D. has been involved with dance and black popular culture internationally for over forty years as a dancer, choreographer, teacher, administrator and scholar. She is Professor Emerita of African American & African Studies at UC Davis and has written two books on global hip-hop: The Africanist Aesthetic in Global Hip-Hop: Power Moves (2007), in which she coined the phrase “connective marginalities” that gave a cogent reason for the youth culture’s internationalization. She followed with one of the first full ethnographies of hip-hop in Africa with The Hiplife in Ghana: West African Indigenization of Hip-Hop (2012), researched through a 2008 Fulbright Fellowship in Ghana.  Her memoir, Dancing in Blackness, with a Foreword written by Brenda Dixon Gottschild, was published by University Press of Florida in 2018, and won the 2019 Selma Jeanne Cohen Prize for Dance Aesthetics, as well as a 2019 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. She has taught dance and lecture-based courses on dance and culture throughout U.S., Europe, Africa, Hawaii, and the Caribbean.

As an artist and dance activist, Dr. Osumare was a soloist with the Rod Rodgers Dance Company in New York City in the 1970s and became the Founder of Oakland’s first multi-ethnic dance institution, Everybody’s Creative Arts Center (now the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts). She also founded the national dance initiative Black Choreographers Moving Toward the 21st Century, a three-city (S.F., L.A., and San Diego) that challenged the stereotypic view of the black choreographer. She is the former Co-Director of the Institute for Dunham Technique Certification that continues the great dance-anthropologist Katherine Dunham’s (1909-2006) legacy. Osumare’s vision of social justice through the arts is like Miss Dunham’s, who believed in the integration of the arts and the humanities to humanize all receptive souls.

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