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What is Black Dance

Morgan-Lee, Ayisha (2020) What is Black Dance. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation explores and analyzes What is Black dance and the role that Black dance plays in the professional development of teaching artists in Black arts’ educational organizations preparing Black dancers for careers on the concert stage. What is Black Dance has evoked controversy among dancers, scholars and critics since the 1960s. Defining Black dance is complicated by the racial origins of Black dance and the racialization that Black dance has encountered and continues to encounter. In this study teaching artists working in urban arts academies demonstrate their knowledge in pedagogy, choreographic works, rehearsals, and performances. Teaching Black dance history, culture and choreographic processes creates and utilizes Black cultural aesthetics, informed by Black people’s culture, identity, history, and experiences to debunk racialized myths about Black dance as an art form. I use qualitative Focused Ethnography and data collection methods of focus groups, Apajo, an African cultural gathering, and individual interviews to engage participants in the examination of research questions. This dissertation through a focused ethnography approach reveals the ways in which professional teaching artists understand Black dance as an art form that uses the aesthetics of Africa, the Diaspora and Black America when developing pedagogy and choreography to prepare Black dancers for careers on the concert stage.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Morgan-Lee, Ayishaamorganlee@5678hdat.orgAAM138
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairAkiva, Thomas
Committee MemberRussell, Jennifer
Committee MemberZoucha, Richard
Committee MemberSherrod, Gaynell
Date: 7 July 2020
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 15 May 2020
Approval Date: 7 July 2020
Submission Date: 26 June 2020
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 111
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Instruction and Learning
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: aesthetics, dance, choreography, focused ethnography, teaching artists, Black
Date Deposited: 07 Jul 2020 19:23
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2020 19:23


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