photo by craig bortmas

Tawanda’s dance research and praxis lays the ontological and epistemological groundwork for an Africanist and diasporic orientation to contemporary theatrical dance performance. It develops a theoretical lexicon with which to understand and analyze such dance along with Africana embodied creative practices. Evidence is drawn from ethnographic engagements with contemporary Africana dancers, close readings of key works in Africana and Dance Studies, as well as Tawanda’s own praxis, experiences and insights as an artist-scholar. This research is also a work of scholarly criticism, mobilizing Africanist and Africana theories and concepts, emphasizing the cosmological and spiritual orientations of transnational African studies, to critique the hegemony of a historical Western discourse about the body that desacralizes its substance, rationalizes its expression, and racializes its exterior. In this manner, Tawanda’s work advocates for an embodied approach to Africana Studies and demonstrates possible methodological approaches for such an endeavor.

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