Choreographies of Trans-Atlantic Primitivity: Sub-Saharan Isolation in Black Dance Historiography

  • Esther J. Terry


Terry approaches choreography as a visual archive and philosophy of history that can help us recover Black lives in the Renaissance period. She challenges current anthropological approaches that are too often indebted to notions of sub-Saharan Africa as a primitive, isolated space divorced from historical developments in dance and choreography of the Black diaspora. In tracing out a historiography of dance and choreography, Terry identifies the gaps in research that result from methodological approaches that inherently render invisible sub-Saharan Africa’s key contributions to the history of dance. By examining two early modern European accounts of sub-Saharan African dances, Terry considers how twentieth-century Black dance anthropological methods may foreclose the questions we ask of Early Modern archives. What survived, she insists, has become what always was.


Choreography Dance history Anthropology 

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Esther J. Terry
    • 1
  1. 1.RichmondUSA

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