Diasporic dialogues in Black concert dance : racial politics, dance history, and aesthetics



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This report examines diasporic dialogues in Black concert dance focusing on dialogues between Brazil and the United States and analyzes how racial politics and cultural exchanges contributed to shape a Black aesthetic in Brazil. Since the beginning of the 20th century, both the presence/passage of US Black dancers/choreographers in Brazil and the presence/passage of Brazilian Black dancers/choreographers in the United States enabled the formation of socio-political networks among artists and cultural cross-fertilization between these countries. Katherine Dunham’s visit in Brazil and Mercedes Batista’s visit in the United States during the 1950s were formative of a Brazilian black concert dance and had left a lasting imprint in black modern dance in the U.S. as well. This report attempts a close reading of the dialogues between Dunham and Batista that shaped the dance techniques and repertoire that make up black modern and postmodern dance in the African diaspora.