Rebalancing Dance Curricula Through Repurposing Black Dance Aesthetics
In my investigation of dance curricula in US higher education, the dance discipline’s primary pedagogical concentrations in classical ballet and Eurocentric modern dance techniques implicitly signal their centrality to the development of any academically trained dancer. This focus, in turn, generalizes and essentializes other cultural and innovative approaches that could be vital to the foundation of the well-trained 21st century dancer and undergraduate dance studies major. Although components of black aesthetic dance techniques and vernaculars, such as Dunham, Umfundalai, and Jazz, as well as Hip Hop and African derived styles, are being offered, they are typically not a central part of the curriculum, but electives. This study proposes the necessary approach to curricular overhauling. I offer an alternative “entercultural engaged pedagogy” that can rectify what is currently lacking in higher education dance departments. Subsequently, this study’s approach to a paradigm shift away from the historical ethnocentric paradigm is not only the introduction of an entercultural approach to dance education but also the undoing of the monocultural epistemology.