Connecting the Dots: NC A&T to Senegal

Student Classification


Faculty Mentor

Dr. Cheryl Stevens


Mass Communication with a minor in Dance

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2019


As dance minor students in the Visual and Performing Arts Department, we traveled to Senegal, West Africa to conduct ethnographic field work. The purpose of traveling to Senegal was to study a variety of traditional and contemporary African dance forms. One objective was to analyze how aspects of the new dance forms learned related to the diasporan and traditional dances and techniques we studied before going to Senegal, in order to make research, personal, and cultural connections. Senegal has a history of attracting scholars and artist. In 1966, Senegal demonstrated its support of international artist and scholars when it hosted the First World Festival of Negro Arts, driven by the directive of then president Leopold Senghor. Our group studied the traditional dance Sabar, one of the popular dances and drum rhythms of Senegal and Ivorian dance from the country of Cote D’Ivoire. Additionally, we studied the contemporary dance form Afrobeat and Germaine Acogny’s Modern-African Dance Technique. Our group learned how the aforementioned dance forms evolved, how they are manifested in the culture today, and the possibilities of their future development. Our field notes were gathered through daily dance classes, photos, video recordings, interviews, journaling, and by adopting traditional living practices. Our findings equipped us with new knowledge related to holistic teaching and research methodologies that can be applied to various areas in the field of dance such as education, performance, choreography, research, and therapy. Traveling to Africa for the first time was a spiritually fulfilling and educational experience.

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