This is a mini documentary filmed and edited by Kyle Mosler. "Criss-Crossing Traces" is a dance intensive that took place at L'Ecole Des Sables in Toubab Dialaw, Senegal in the summer of 2013. For six weeks I studied traditional and contemporary dance styles that ranged from Patrimonial dances of Ivory Coast to Improvisation courses. 40 artists were brought to the school and as a team we represented six out of the seven continents (sorry Antarctica). This short film was compiled to address the contemporary dance movement that has been moving forward throughout Africa. However as foreigners, the art world in general is leaving African artists out of the equation due to shear ignorance of the knowledge, passion, and fire that contemporary artists and choreographers have stirring within them. These interviews are touch upon the subject of "contemporary African dance" and L'Ecole Des Sables' role in exposing foreigners to the arts and culture of Senegal, but also to expose Africa to the rest of the world. By crossing our paths - that is to say, Criss-Crossing out Traces - we built lifelong friendships, collaborators, and most certainly for me, an eye and ear towards the intelligent and striking dance art that African artists are producing. A special thanks to the School of Theatre and Dance at the University of Florida, the friends of theatre and dance at UF, and the Lawrence Baynard Hubbell scholarship fund for making this possible.
African-based choreographers are producing contemporary work, igniting a fire of passion for the crea- tive process and scholarly analysis in dance. Choreographers of this vast continent are making names for themselves as artists, but are often categorized separately from the rest of the world. Often the work is labeled as “African Contemporary dance”. During a traditional and contemporary dance workshop in Toubab Dialaw, Senegal (summer of 2013), artists expressed to me their concern about the label; most say this is all-inclusive and exclusionary. Forcing artists throughout Africa to identify with a title, which compiles everyone on the continent into one notion, refuses artist’s individuality and ceases the ability to claim a name in the art world. On that note, the concept of anything being “African” is an outsider’s view- point. In contemporary art, the notion of individuality is forefront, but conceptualizing a dance form to be “African Contemporary” eliminates the individuality. The general lack of education about Africa in the 21st century contributes to ideas concerning African-born people. An incessant false perception regard- ing Africa as a whole fosters ignorance. Our general unfamiliarity is giving leeway for foreign societies to generalize the people and the arts of African-based cultures.
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