African Diaspora Dance Conference Focuses on Themes of Joy and Defiance

Poster for the CADD conference

The third bi-annual conference convened at Duke University by the Collegium for African Diaspora Dance (CADD) will explore African diasporic dance as a resource of both joy and defiance.

Dance Black Joy: Global Affirmations and Defiance will take place February 16-19 and brings a variety of dance scholars, practitioners, and educators for three days of critical dialogue and provocative research.

Presentations and performances will be held in the new Rubenstein Arts Center, White Lecture Hall, Ark Dance Studio and other locations on Duke’s East Campus.

The conference will feature a remembrance of Baba Chuck Davis, founder of the African American Dance Ensemble and one of the foremost teachers and choreographers of traditional African dance in America. There will also be a performance of “Cane: a responsive environment dancework” presented by SLIPPAGE: Performance|Culture|Technology, conceived and directed by Duke Professor Thomas F. DeFrantz.

DeFrantz, one of the founders of CADD, said this year’s inspiring keynote speakers bring together a world of African diaspora dance and research.

Keynote speakers appearing will be Brenda Dixon Gottschild, an emerita professor of dance and dance historian from Temple University; Melissa Blanco Borelli, a dance studies scholar from the University of London; and Marianna Francisca Martins Monteiro, a Brazilian dance and theater scholar.

“This CADD conference comes at a moment when we are all thinking about how to move with intention, effectiveness, and also a communal, shared joy,” said DeFrantz. “So much in the world is indeterminate now, from political circumstances for all manner of people of color, to climate crises, and access to basic resources. We wonder at how we Dance Black Joy, and what can be produced in international considerations of African diaspora dance.”

The conference provides free registration to Duke students, faculty, and staff. Registration and the conference program can be found at

Dance Black Joy: Global Affirmations and Defiance is sponsored by SLIPPAGE: Performance|Culture|Technology, the Duke University Dance Program, African and African American Studies, and the John Hope Franklin Afro-Diasporic Legacies Series at the Franklin Humanities Institute.