African Diaspora Dance Conference Focuses on Themes of Joy and Defiance

The third bi-annual conference convened by the Collegium for African Diaspora Dance (CADD) will explore African diasporic dance as a resource of both joy and defiance.

Dance Black Joy: Global Affirmations and Defiance will take place February 16-19, 2018, at Duke University and brings a variety of dance scholars, practitioners, and educators for three days of critical dialogue and provocative research.

Presentations and performances will be held in the new Rubenstein Arts Center, White Lecture Hall, Ark Dance Studio and other locations on Duke’s East Campus in Durham, NC.

The conference will feature a remembrance of Baba Chuck Davis, founder of the African American Dance Ensemble and one of the foremost teachers and choreographers of traditional African dance in America. There will also be a performance of “Cane: a responsive environment dancework” presented by SLIPPAGE: Performance|Culture|Technology, conceived and directed by Duke Professor Thomas F. DeFrantz.

DeFrantz, one of the founders of CADD, said this year’s inspiring keynote speakers bring together a world of African diaspora dance and research.

Keynote speakers appearing will be Brenda Dixon Gottschild, an emerita professor of dance and dance historian from Temple University; Melissa Blanco Borelli, a dance studies scholar from the University of London; and Marianna Francisca Martins Monteiro, a Brazilian dance and theater scholar.

“This CADD conference comes at a moment when we are all thinking about how to move with intention, effectiveness, and also a communal, shared joy,” said DeFrantz. “So much in the world is indeterminate now, from political circumstances for all manner of people of color, to climate crises, and access to basic resources. We wonder at how we Dance Black Joy, and what can be produced in international considerations of African diaspora dance.”

The conference provides free registration to Duke students, faculty, and staff. Registration and the conference program can be found at

Dance Black Joy: Global Affirmations and Defiance is sponsored by SLIPPAGE: Performance|Culture|Technology, the Duke University Dance Program, African and African American Studies, and the John Hope Franklin Afro-Diasporic Legacies Series at the Franklin Humanities Institute.

For more information, please contact or

The CADD Executive Committee is an interdisciplinary collective made up of the following members:

Takiyah Nur Amin, Davidson College
Stafford C. Berry, Jr., Indiana University
Thomas F. DeFrantz, Duke University
Jasmine Johnson, Brown University
Raquel Monroe, Columbia College Chicago
C. Kemal Nance, University of Illinois, Champaign Urbana
Carl Paris, John Jay College
John O. Perpener III, Emeritus, Florida State University
Makeda Thomas, Independent Artist
Andrea E. Woods Valdés, Duke University
Ava LaVonne Vinesett, Duke University