Central African dance and the emergence of Afro-Beat dance

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Date: November 21, 2019
Time: 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Location: old main studio E #3374
Category: Lecture

The Humanities Center is proud to present as a part of its Brown Bag Colloquium Series, a talk by Karen Prall, Theatre & Dance, Dance Lecturer.


Taking you on an African American dancer’s journey from Detroit, in navigating the world of Ballet and Modern dance to the compelling world of central African dance, existing in all three worlds, as I Found dance as part of my future. The challenge of being introduced to *new movements, music, culture, and language, outside of the world of modern and ballet while maintaining all, with modern and African eventually becoming my form of communication as a dancer, performer and instructor.

Realization that those *new movements are quite old and the story behind why we observe an African dance movement and can relate to or compare to another movement or dance that is done in the U.S. Traveling to Congo, Brazzaville, and Congo, Kinshasa, Paris, France, Accra, Ghana, and more assisted in the development and observance of African dance and music with its effects on modern dance as well as ballet.

My introduction to the world of Congolese dance, drum, songs, chants, offered me a chance to view the art of dance from new eyes. Experiencing the art with the dancers and drummers as your extended family, not just dancing but talking, listening, exchanging cultural norms, taking care and looking out for each other. All the while you are learning the traditional style you kept an eye on the contemporary (music and dance) style of Soukous. Soukous was some of the main popular music (party) all over Africa for quite some time.

In my personal observance of the emergence of Afro-beat on the scene as well as the dance movements that answer to this change, it happened quickly once Nigeria’s youth took hold from Fela Kuti and put their generational stamp on Afro-beat not just the music but also the dance.

You may wonder why is this important? For our youth it is quickly becoming a means of communication, the area you are from, we should know the foundation/roots of Afro-Beat and where it originated from, this style is now requested in auditions for music videos, commercials. Staying connected and current with dance styles,

In this work I will speak and provide a lecture demonstration myself and the audience (minimal movement), can be done moving or in a chair, this will be a part of this dancers journey as is spoken.


These talks are free and open to the public! We also provide free coffee, tea, and cake!


Humanties Center




Academic Staff, Alumni, Community, Current Graduate Students, Faculty

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