Umfundalai (various levels)

Umfundalai (various levels)

Umfundalai is a contemporary African dance technique that comprises its movement vocabulary from dance traditions throughout the Diaspora.  The literal word, Umfundalai, means “essence” or “essential” in Kiswahili.  Much like the late Katherine Dunham, Kariamu Welsh (Umfundalai’s progenitor) has designed a stylized movement practice that seeks to articulate an essence of African-oriented movement or as she describes, “an approach to movement that is wholistic, body centric and organic.”  In my own approach to Umfundalai, I am interested in how the studio classroom can be a place to centralize Africanist aesthetics and notions of community building, and also a place to honor tradition while using critical analysis to ask what tradition has to do with our own respective human selves.  I am also interested in approaching the traditions of the class with a queer sensibility, examining the importance of historical gender roles as it has to do with this form, and antagonizing those traditions in our practice.  I have been a Professional Umfundalai Certified Teacher since 2016, and a practitioner since 2002.  http://www.umfundalai.net/

 

 

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