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News & Events

Guest Lecture: Dancing Indigenous Philosophy: Key Concepts in African Contemporary Dance

The University of Malta
March 21, 2023    13:30 CET

Hosted by Dr. Mika Lior and The University of Malta, Dr. Demerson unpacks several Indigenous philosophies undergirding contemporary concert dance in Africa. By examining the work of Faustin Linyekula, Mamela Nyamza, Dada Masilo, and Germaine Acogny, we will explore cosmology, becoming, circlular time, feminism and transcendence encompass traditional approaches to contemporary dance in Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Africa, and Senegal that blur the lines of tradition and contemporaneity to create new African identities that are boldly experimental and firmly rooted. 

Guest Lecture: Dada Masilo's Giselle:  A Decolonial Love 

Stanford University (online)
April 24, 2023         13:30 PST

This lecture presents a polycentric Africanist reading of Dada Masilo’s Giselle, which debuted in South Africa in 2017. Although ballet was used as a tool of colonization in South Africa, establishing cultural and aesthetic norms from a European paradigm, while undermining Indigenous arts and excluding non-white artists, I argue that Dada Masilo’s choreographic choices employ the narrative of Giselle to decolonize through ballet. Dada Masilo’s Giselle embodies African philosophies such as ancestorism, as well as gender fluidity and complementarity. It mobilizes techniques such as signifyin(g), comedic resistance, code-switching, battling, shouting, and critically reappropriating Tswana and diasporic movements in order to convey a distinctly South African version of the European ballet. This work transcends the romantic love of Giselle in order to convey a decolonial love by centering South African ways of knowing and being in the world.

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