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Emergent issues regarding ‘african traditional dance’ and ‘african contemporary dance’: a discourse on the current theory and practice of ‘african dance’ criticism and choreography

Author: 
Mellitus N. Wanyama and Isaac Waswa Shitubi
Subject Area: 
Social Sciences and Humanities
Abstract: 

African traditional cultural dance performances have entered a dynamic new phase as a result of the influence of globalization on culture and conversely, the impact of culture on globalization. Kenya is not an exception. This situation leaves the following questions unanswered: 1. Are African musical arts headed for extinction in the near future? 2. Considering the fact that culture is a dynamic phenomenon, what strategies can be put in place so as to preserve the diverse Kenyan expressive cultures such as traditional music and dance for posterity? 3. What are the identifiable indigenous culture-specific characteristics that can be adapted and yet retain identities and styles akin to the prototype traditional dances? 4. What are the key issues to be considered by an ‘African dance’ critic, analyst and choreographer in Kenya today? With the foregoing questions in mind, and other contextual ones that may arise the author go ahead to evaluate the nature and structure of ‘African traditional dance’ in modern times with a critical eye. The paper end by recommending a workable/practical choreography and dance criticism model for evaluation and documentation of contemporary culture-specific neo-traditional dances particularly in Kenya and generally in Africa.

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