Embodying Diaspora is a monthly dance workshop series that centers on Afro-diasporic movement traditions led by Arts + Public Life / Center for the Study of Race, Politics & Culture Artist-in-Residence Arif Smith and his guests. Smith’s residency prioritizes embodiment and co-presence as strategies for exploring linkages between various coordinates in the Black Atlantic.
Free. All skill levels are welcome. Please wear comfortable clothes.
Embodying Diaspora workshop schedule:
Kizomba | February 13 | ages 16+
Kizomba is a social dance form from Angola that emerged in the late 1970s. Kizomba derives much of its movement vocabulary and structure from traditional Angolan semba, although the former is significantly slower. This workshop will explore the roots of kizomba, underscoring fundamental footwork and timing.
Rumba | March 13 | ages 16+
First documented in the 19th century, rumba is a secular genre traditionally performed by Cubans of African descent in the streets and solares (courtyards) of Havana and Matanzas. There are three traditional forms of rumba: yambú, guaguancó, and columbia. This workshop will focus on guaguancó, a dance style that embodies the dynamic courtship between the hen and rooster.
Orisha | April 10 | all ages
This workshop will investigate dance vocabulary that honors various orisha (deity) in La Regla de Ocha or the Lucumí (Yoruba) tradition found in Cuba. The workshop will also feature batá drumming and songs for various orisha.
Rueda de Casino | May 8 | ages 16+
Developed in the 1950s, rueda de casino (wheel of salsa) is a dance genre shaped by several African-rooted traditions found in Cuba, including son and rumba. Rueda de casino is typified by couples dancing in a circle while guided by a leader who indicates when to execute synchronized movements.
Bomba | June 12 | all ages
Although first documented in 1797, research suggests that bomba developed in Puerto Rico in the 16th century during the Spanish colonial period among the island's African descendants. Bomba is Puerto Rico's oldest surviving music and dance form, and is characterized by the dialogue between the solo dancer and musician playing the primo or subidor (lead drum).
Eskista | July 10 | all ages
Eskista is the most widely known traditional dance genre from Ethiopia. Exemplified by isolated movement in the shoulders, neck, and chest, eskista has regional variations that are meant to depict the movements of cobras, chickens, and the stages of the harvest.