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6.2.20: Dance History Handout Resources (including highlighting black dance artists)

Briefly sharing three dance history-overview resources I’ve put together this year for both my academic and studio-based dance classes.

These compiled lists are intended to be starting points, encouraging students of different dance genres to familiarize with the names of these important figures and to start to connect the dots of how dance genres have developed into what we know today.

The underlying hope is that students also see how dance has always been intertwined with cultural and societal tides, and how diverse voices are what lead to innovation.  Links are provided for more context and research!

  • Dance History: A Quick Overview (highlights the development of Ballet, Modern Dance, and Post-Modern Dance, including dates, major figures, hallmarks, and resources)
  • Contemporary & World Dances (highlights the definition/hallmarks of contemporary dance, provides a sampling of notable choreographers and companies; and also includes a starter list of world dances that preserve cultural traditions and often inform the innovative contemporary dances of today)
  • Black/POC Dance Figures Info Sheet (highlights historical figures across multiple genres including modern, ballet, dances of the African diaspora, tap and hip hop; as well as contemporary voices in the dance landscape making innovations and honoring legacies. Intention is to highlight the vital contributions of black dance artists to the genres we all know and love; links included for more in-depth biographies)

How to use these in class? Depending on your class’ focus and age group:

  • do a video viewing once a month of a work by one of these artists, and discuss!
  • pick a handout or a category, and assign one artist to each student for them to read about and present to the class the following week
  • when teaching, be specific and use these artists’ names when explaining where the technique or movements came from
  • encourage your students to follow a diverse array of dancers on social media, including those contemporary figures named on these resources

(Please credit me with compiling these if used!) And please comment with any suggestions or additions!

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