African Dance pioneer Dr. Kariamu Welsh to demonstrate, discuss Umfundalai Dance Technique at Drexel
Guggenheim Award-winning dance scholar and choreographer Dr. Kariamu Welsh, the creator of the African dance technique Umfundalai, will join Drexel University for a discussion and demonstration on Thursday, Oct. 17, at 7 p.m.
Welsh will discuss her experiences living, studying, teaching and performing in Africa and how they inspired her to establish a dance style suited for all body types. She will also lead a company of her own dancers in a demonstration of the Umfundalai technique.
PHOTO: Dr. Kariamu Welsh, creator of Umfundalai
The event will take place at Drexel’s Mandell Theater (35th and Market Streets), and is free and open to the public. It is hosted by the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design’s dance program and the College of Arts and Sciences’ Africana Studies program.
Pronounced “um-foon-duh-luh,” Umfundalai has been a fixture in Philadelphia’s African dance community for more than 30 years. It combines traditional African dance elements with African American-derived rhythms. It is a technique that extends and expands the movement vocabulary of African and the African Diaspora into a vehicle for contemporary expression.
“The Philadelphia dance community, including Drexel University, has been very supportive of African dance and its many companies and choreographers,” said Welsh. “The Umfundalai dance technique has been in existence 42 years and is the second codified technique that deals with an Africanist aesthetic.
The significance of the technique to the Philadelphia dance community is that its evolution and development has been largely in Philadelphia and that many of the teachers, dancers and choreographers have come from the Philadelphia area.”
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