African American Dance

An Illustrated History


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About the Book

Africans brought as slaves to North America arrived without possessions, but not without culture. The fascinating elements of African life manifested themselves richly in the New World, and among the most lasting and influential of these was the art of African dance. This generously illustrated history follows the dynamics of African dance forms throughout each generation. Early chapters discuss the African continent and the heritage of African American dance; the discrimination and marginalization of African Americans and the fortitude with which their dance forms survived; and black dance in the slavery era and later in the nineteenth century. Remaining chapters outline ten major characteristics that have consistently marked African American dance, and describe the various styles of black vernacular dance that became popular in America. The book concludes with a discussion of African dance at the end of the twentieth century and its important role in the flowering of African American arts.

Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

Barbara S. Glass is retired from Ohio State University, where she taught professional writing and directed the professional writing internship program. She lives in Xenia, Ohio.

Bibliographic Details

Barbara S. Glass

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 319
Bibliographic Info: 228 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012 [2007]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7157-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vi

Preface     1

1. Two Dance Traditions Meet in the New World     3

2. Black Dance in the Slavery Era: The Ring Shout and Buzzard Lope      30

3. Early Black Festivals and Congo Square      59

4. Solo Percussive Dance      98

5. The Minstrel Show and Other Traveling Productions      124

6. Black Broadway      153

7. Variety      200

8. Grassroots      243

Notes      289

Bibliography      301

Index      309

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Highly recommended”—Choice
  • “The commentary is fresh and comprehensive…illustrations are astonishing”—Booklist
  • “Barbara S. Glass demonstrates great knowledge and exhaustive research…valuable…a worthwhile addition”—Dancer
  • “Its abundant, well-chosen images underscore the variety of documentation available to researchers working today… The photographs are indeed the stars of the book, and several of them have not been published before”—Dance Critics Association
  • “Everything from African Dance rituals to the modern Jitterbug, Big Apple, Twist, and Break-dancing are covered in this engaging book.”—Ohioana Quarterly