First Advisor

Minton, Sandra L.

Date Created



The primary goal of this research project was to identify the influence of traditional African dance on African diasporic dance in the Caribbean and the United States. The study demonstrated how movement connects people and gives them the opportunity to share common experiences, ideas, and traditions. This qualitative and quantitative study was designed to answer four essential questions. Q1 What is traditional African dance? Q2 What is Black (Africanist) dance? Q3 How the elements of dance (Time, Space, Energy) can be used to help students make comparisons between African tribal dance and a variety of Africanist dance genres? Q4 How the elements of dance (Time, Space, Energy) might be used to create movements and dance phrases that represent various African and African diasporic dance genres? The research instruments used to analyze the data were pre-tests, posttests, and the researcher’s observation notes. This study was built around documents published by The Global Citizen Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps teachers develop values in their students. It is the Foundation’s belief that students need the ability to solve problems in real time, think and work creatively in both digital and nondigital environments to develop unique and useful solutions, think analytically, collaborate with others, and learn to be ethical and accountable (Wantabe-Crockett). One goal of the study was to provide dance educators with a standards-based dance curriculum that employs 21st Century Skills. Another objective was to make available a comprehensive unit for the dance study that was diverse, inclusive, and presented Africanist dance as a high form of artistic expression. One final objective of this study was to provide middle school dance educators with a unit of study that can be incorporated into a course of study for their dance classes. The study units were taught to approximately forty-five of the researcher’s middle school (grades six through eight) dance students; however, only seventeen completed and returned the required consent forms. Upon the conclusion of the study, the researcher noted several limitations were encountered that may have influenced the outcome. These limitations included unexpected severe weather, an acute outbreak of influenza, and the fact that the researcher was also the author, implementor, and observer in the study. Other limitations noted during the study included the research participants’ prior relationship with the researcher as her students and the large amount of material covered in the study. The outcome demonstrated the use of culturally inclusive dance education enriched participant learning. Participants increased ability to articulate their knowledge about Africanist dance was evident. Additionally, the researcher noted a greater confidence in the participants’ ability to create dance phrases that were representative of Africanist dance genres. Participants refined their 21st Century skills throughout the study using small group discussions, peer feedback, and group choreography collaborations. Further research is recommended to solidify current outcomes and to discover alternative outcomes as well.


113 pages

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