Black Life/ Black Death

Black Life / Black Death (47 total: 13 required; 34 optional)

Gender and the Materiality of Black Dancing Bodies

Gender and the Materiality of Black Dancing Bodies (41)

Improvisation, Choreography, Change

Improvisation, Choreography, Change (53 pages)

Final Project Brainstorming

One person from each group should submit their group’s responses to the below brainstorming questions to me via email by the end of the day on Saturday, October 15.

1 – What: What do you want to do?

Whether you’re thinking about a more expressive or political movement, what kinds of things do you imagine actually doing for/during this staged movement?

  • – For example: Do you know that you want to do something outside? If so, do you have ideas of where? Do you know that you want to do something that incorporates a multimedia installation? If yes, what kind of media? How big? Can you find an example(s) of similar types of installations that have happened at BC or other places you’ve been or that you’ve seen pictures of online?

And if you don’t have clear ideas about what you want to do, you can at least start to take note of what you don’t want to do or what you’d like to avoid doing.

2 – Why: Why are you staging a movement (other than the fact that it’s an assignment)?

Whether you’re thinking about staging a more expressive or political movement, you should have an understanding of the goals and objectives you have for staging the movement. Goals and objectives are more concrete than ideology, politics, or feelings. You will need to think (and keep thinking through) the ideologies, politics, and/or feelings that animate the what and why of your movement, but goals and objectives should be thought of as the answer to the question, What do you want your movement to accomplish or affect in the world? Do you want your movement to make your audience feel something? If so, what (why and how will you know they’ve felt it)? Do you want the movement to make your audience do something? If so, what (why, and how will you know they’ve done it)?

In fact at this point in the game, you might actually start with the why if you don’t have a clear sense of the what.

  • – For example(s), you might ask: What do we want to communicate and to whom? What story is important for us to tell? what issue do we want to bring awareness to?

3: Who?: Who is your audience?

Implicit in both questions one and two, is the question of audience? To some degree, I’ve already helped you narrow your audience down inasmuch as I’m requiring you stage a movement “at” BC directed to some part of the BC community. However, you still need to narrow down your intended audience quite a bit to make this movement manageable and successful. Some questions, you might ask include:

Do we want to focus on our peers in terms of age and rank (meaning focusing on students, perhaps a particular year or even a particular major or minor)? Or are you thinking about your audience in terms of area of study, particular administrative office, a particular demographic background, etc.?

Keep in mind, that having an intended audience doesn’t preclude folks who are not your intended audience from witnessing and/or being affected by the movement you stage. So don’t think about this question as a matter of who’s one the guest list. Think about it instead as an extension of questions one and two. Because once you start to get the what, why, and who down, you can start to ask the hard question of, “How?”


If you want to go further (or if it’s just already on your mind), you might also take a moment to jot down some of the texts and/or topics discussed thus far that you think your group might want to incorporate or think more about in the process of developing and staging your own movement. At this point, it’s okay if you have texts or ideas that you want to engage, but you’re not really sure how relevant they are to your responses to one or more of the above brainstorming questions.

Student Blogs (Journal) + Film

(The below information was also emailed to the class around noon on Friday, September 2nd.)

I hope everyone’s first week of classes went well.  

Since we had some absences and new enrollment, I’m sending a few announcements / reminders from yesterday’s class.  The second announcement requires your response, so please read and reply in a timely fashion. 

1 – Next Week’s Assignment:  Please watch the film Can You Bring It?  Bill T Jones and D Man in the Water for next week.  You should be able to access it from logging on to Kanopy (a database you can access by searching the BC library online catalogue) and looking under either “My List” or “My courses.”  (There is probably also a link to Kanopy on Canvas under course resources.)

Note: that we will discuss the film on Tuesday and Thursday, but for Thursday’s class you’re also expected to read the accompanying interview with Bill T Jones dancer Sean Curran by the foundational Black dance scholar and artist Brenda Dixon Gottschild.

2 – For this class everyone will keep their own online journal.  I am issuing students’ class blog sites (where you’ll build your online journal) this weekend.  In order for me to make your site, I need you to email me the handle you’d like me to use as I make your unique url.   Please email me your handle by Monday morning, September 4th at 9:00 am.  As you decide on your handle, keep the following in mind:  

  •  Do not use your name or identifying information.  
  •  Everyone’s url will begin with 
  • To make your particular site, I will add your handle to the end
    • Ex 1:  Handle: hope  Blog Url:  
    • Ex 2:  Handle:  penn  Blog Url: 
  •  Once I assign the url, you CANNOT change it. 
  • By default, your handle will also be your site title.  However, you CAN change the site title later.

3 – At the beginning of class yesterday, I also gave a very quick crash course on how to customize and build your WordPress blog site to make it your own. If you missed the class, you might reach out to a classmate or stop by office hours.  Ultimately though the crash course was just an introduction.  The best way to get acquainted is to just mess around and try things. You can’t mess up the site, so don’t worry.  Just play around; see what you learn; and what questions come up.   You should start familiarizing yourself with your site as soon as you receive your url, so we’re not wasting any time.  We will talk more about building your blog in the next coming weeks, and of course, you can always stop by office hours if you have additional questions or concerns.

4 – This week we watched a short solo performance by Bill T Jones (via youtube clip, linked on the course schedule).  If you haven’t watched this video please do. If you have watched it, don’t be shy about watching it again.  As I mentioned in class yesterday, my hope is that the piece might function as generative theory and instructive methodology as we think about the aesthetics, sociality, and politics of black movements.  

5 – In class yesterday, I also gave an overview of the “Boxed and Bound” packet (linked on the course schedule).  That packet includes the readings for the week after next, and while you can definitely read/review the packet materials without the benefit of the overview I provided yesterday, it may be helpful checking in with one of your classmates.   Certainly if you start reading the packet and feel confused in any way, reach out to your peers and to me.

Have a great weekend,

Boxed and Bound Packet

  • View: the nine images available at “Images of People (9 images)” Image Galleries. Resources. <>

  • Read: (7 pages*) Chapter 7 (VII) and “Air. Uncle Ned” in Brown, Henry. Narrative of the Life of Henry Box Brown, Written by Himself. 1851. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill’s Documenting the American South. <> Accessed 8.31.22

  • *Page estimated based on copy and pasting into Word document. Page estimates do not correlate with the pagination indicated on the digital narratives as posted on Docsouth.

Black Social & Pop Dance

Black Social & Pop Dance

Bounce Music and the Beats

Childish Gambino: “Childish Gambino – This is America (Official Video)” posted by Childish Gambino 3.5.18. Accessed 8.27.20. Childish Gambino.


Souldjer Boy

James Brown

Michael Jackson

Beyonce: “Grown Woman” and “Single Ladies”; “Alright” and “Beyonce out dancing her dancers for 11 minutes and 36 seconds straight.” AND “Beyonce – Formation,” Posted by Beyonce. 12.9.16. Accessed 8.27.20.

Black Ballerinas

Black Ballerinas

Misty Copeland

“This Week’ Sunday Spotlight: Misty Copeland.” Posted by ABC News. Apr 6, 2014 (Accessed 9/25/20).

“Misty Copeland Dances Romeo + Juliet, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux & White Swan at Vail Dance 2015”  Posted by Nel Shelby Productions. August 19, 2015. (Accessed 9/25/20).

“Watch an Exclusive Clip of Misty Copeland’s ​”A Ballerina’s Tale” Documentary.” Posted by Teen Vogue. Oct 19, 2015 (Accessed 9/25/20).

“Barack Obama & Misty Copeland On Race, Body Image & Staying Humble | The Influencers | TIME” Posted by Time. Jan 26, 2017 (Accessed 9/25/20)

Michaela DePrince

“Dancers Among Us: Michaela DePrince & Skyler Maxey-Wert │ Jacob’s Pillow Dance.” Jul 30, 2013 (Accessed 9/25/20).

“The ballet dancer who fought to wear brown tights | Michaela DePrince | Rebels | BBC Sport.” Posted by BBC Sport. Oct 5, 2019 (Accessed 9/25/20).

“Orphan From Sierra Leone Becomes World-Class Ballerina.” Posted by Storyhunter. July 26, 2013 (Accessed 9/25/20).

“Michaela De Prince (Dutch National Ballet), Variation from Don Quixote 2010.” Posted by September 1, 2019 (Accessed 9/25/20).

Katherine Dunham

“Katherine Dunham Performing Ballet Creole (1952) | British Pathé.” Posted by British Pathé. August 27, 2014 (Accessed 9/25/20).

“Katherine Duhham.” Posted by educatetoliberate. March 2, 2008 (Accessed 9/25/20).

“Katherine Dunham and her Dance Company in Casbah.” Posted by Danielle Hall. May 16, 2003 (Accessed 9/25/20).