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Dancing in Blackness is a professional dancer's personal journey over four decades, across three continents and twenty-three countries, and through defining moments in the story of black dance in America. In this memoir, Halifu Osumare reflects on what blackness and dance have meant to her life and international career.
Osumare's story begins in 1960s San Francisco amid the Black Arts Movement, black militancy, and hippie counterculture. It was there that she chose dance as her own revolutionary statement. She moved to Europe, where she taught "jazz ballet" and established her own dance company in Copenhagen. Returning to the United States, she danced with the Rod Rodgers Dance Company in New York City and played key roles in integrating black dance programs into mainstream programmingat the Lincoln Center. After dance fieldwork in Ghana, Osumare returned to California and helped develop Oakland's black dance scene. Along the way, she collaborated with major artistic movers and shakers: among them, Katherine Dunham, Pearl Primus, Jean-Leon Destine, and Donald McKayle.
Now a black studies scholar, Osumare uses her extraordinary experiences to reveal the overlooked ways that dance has been a vital tool in the black struggle for recognition, justice, and self-empowerment. This is the inspiring story of an accomplished dance artist and a world-renowned dance scholar who has boldly developed and proclaimed her identity as a black woman.