Free to Dance

Panel Discussion Mon 5 Feb 2001
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How does dance tell the story of the transformative power of art and the determination of individuals to remain free? This panel is organized as a commentary on Davis Lacey's documentary Free to Dance, being televised on PBS stations this spring. The film tells the story of dance among Black people in the US as an integral part of their political battles for civil rights, social struggles against stereotypes, and the transmittal of their heritage.

African American choreographer Pearl Primus believed that "people who truly dance are those who have never bartered the fierce freedom of their souls." Panelists discuss the relationship of vernacular to concert dancing; the discrimination and preconceptions that Black dancers have confronted and continue to confront, the role of critics in elucidating the dance, and the long history and power of dance throughout the African diaspora.

Katherine Dunham
Davis Lacey
Ronald Brown
Zita Allen
Julia Foulkes