Department of Music Online Lecture: Thomas DeFrantz, Professor in the Department of African and African American Studies, the Program in Dance, and Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies, Duke University
Black Social Dance provides the rhythmic motor for an entire constellation of popular music and culture. This talk renders Black Social Dance towards its abilities to provoke physical improvisations that confirm corporeal agencies: individualities within a group context that propose variations in time. Rhythm arrives as a sacred trust in structures of African diaspora performance; and if we can ride and then cut the beat, we can remake our destiny.
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Thomas F. DeFrantz studied music composition and computer science as an undergraduate. Directs SLIPPAGE: Performance|Culture|Technology, a research group that explores emerging technology in live performance; group deploys bespoke live-processing systems in performance, crafting interfaces that translate movements into light and sound to underscore the creative concerns at hand. Received 2017 Outstanding Research in Dance award, Dance Studies Association. Believes in our shared capacity to do better, and to engage our creative spirit for a collective good that is anti-racist, anti-homophobic, proto-feminist, and queer affirming. Consultant for the Smithsonian Museum of African American Life and Culture, contributing concept and voice-over for permanent installation on Black Social Dance that opened with the museum in 2016. Books include Dancing Revelations Alvin Ailey's Embodiment of African American Culture (2004); Black Performance Theory, with Anita Gonzalez (2014); Choreography and Corporeality: Relay in Motion; with Philipa Rothfield (2016). Professor at Duke University; recent teaching University of the Arts Mobile MFA in Dance; Lion’s Jaw Festival; Movement Research MELT; ImPulsTanz; New Waves Institute; faculty at Hampshire College, Stanford, Yale, MIT, NYU, University of Nice. In 2013, working with Takiyah Nur Amin, founded the Collegium for African Diaspora Dance, a growing consortium of 300 researchers. www.slippage.org.