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Video Resources on African Dance: CD-ROM, DVD, VHS video

Traditional African dance: videos in the Music/Media Library

Swahili Beat (Music/Media Library, DT 429.5 S94 S92 2012) / Documentary Educational Resources - features the history and culture of the Swahili people of Kenya and Tanzania's east African coast.  "Packed with music and dance."  Swahili Beat is streamable via Culture Unplugged. (28 min.)

Female Voices from an Ewe Dance-drumming Community in Ghana: Our Music has Become a Divine Spirit (book/DVD set, Main Stacks, ML3760 B96 2009) / Ashgate - detailed ethnography of a group of female musicians from the Dzigbordi community dance-drumming club from the rural town of Dzodze, in southeastern Ghana.  There is a detailed description in the catalog record linked above and also in a review.

Play, Jankunu, Play (Music/Media Library, F1505.2 C3 G67 2007) / Documentary Educational Resources - features the Garifuna, of combined West African and Native American descent, living in Belize, Central America, in the wanaragua, a system of Christmas processionals (Jankunu).  Descriptions of dance styles and interviews with dancers and others; includes rare footage of warini, the now extinct ritual that is the Africanized predecessor to wanaragua.

Dance and Drama in Uganda: the Pearl of Africa (Music/Media Library, GV1713 U33 B37 2005) / Contemporary Arts Media - this interactive ebook (CD-ROM) highlights the power of dance and drama to transform lives.

Dancing Through West Africa (Music/Media Library, GV1713 S46 D36 2004) / Chuck Davis - native dancing traditions of Senegal and Gambia.  Also available in the Alexander Street Press Video, with transcript.

West African Dance (Music/Media Library, GV1713 G85 W47 2004) / Abdoulaye Camara - Camara teaches 5 West African choreographies in vol. 1: Yole (Temne people, Sierra Leone), Kuku (Guinea forest region), Tiriba (Baga people, northwest Guinea), Mandiani (Malinke, eastern Guinea), Telefone (contemporary, Guinea); vol. 2 features "new" West African choreographies: Soko (Komanko people, Guinea's Faranah region), Soli (Malinke ethnic group), Sinte (Susu ethnic group of coastal Guinea), Yamama (Susu), Kassa (Malinke).  Special features include dancing and drumming in Guinea, song translations and more.

African Culture: Drumming & Dance (Music/Media Library, M1831 A85 A37 2000) / Discovery Education - Ashanti-Sebei provides an introduction into African culture through dance, music, songs and clothing.  (60 min.)  Contents description 

Multicultural Folk Dance (Music/Media Library, GV1743 M85 2007 (originally produced in 1998) / Human Kinetics - shows steps to dances from 18 countries, with traditional costumes, including background and lore about the dances; an excerpt, "Highlife," features Ghana.

Dancing series (Music/Media Library, GV1601 D36 1993; Dance in Video database) / Thirteen/WNET with RM Arts and BBC TV, 1993 - from this series produced by Rhoda Grauer volume 2, entitled "Lord of the Dance," offers segments on Dance of the Nigerian Christian Church and Dance of the Nigerian Osun Worship; volume 4, entitled "Dance at the Court," presents Ashanti Court Dance.  A book, Dancing: the Pleasure, Power, and Art of Movement, by Gerald Jonas in association with Thirteen/WNET et al., accompanies this series.

Ethnic Dance Around the World (Music/Media Library, GV1743 E84 ; streaming via Kanopy / BFA Educational Media - originally produced in 1991, this DVD presents examples of ethnic dances from the Americas, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Australia and stresses their social and cultural motivations.  Includes festival, celebration and courtship dances, and dances for recreation.  Emphasis is placed on why people dance, why dance and music styles differ, and the role of religion in ethnic dancing. (24 min.)

The Dance of the Spirits: Mask Styles and Performance in the Upper Volta (Music/Media Library, GT1748.B92 D36 2005 [orig. 1988]) / University of Iowa, Christopher Roy and Steven Henke - this video shows African masks from Burkina Faso in West Africa, as used in the ritual dances of the region.  (30 min.)

Dance Research Librarian

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Laura Ruede
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Removed from the collection

This three-volume set of VHS videocassettes was removed from the collection: The JVC Smithsonian Folkways Video Anthology of Music and Dance of Africa (formerly Music/Media Library, ML3760 J83 1996) / Hiroshi Yamamoto -  v.1 Egypt, Uganda, Senegal (57 min.); v.2 Gambia, Liberia, Ghana, Nigeria (52 min.); v. 3 Kenya, Malawi, Botswana, South Africa (48 min.) - contents.

The closest video set available is now streaming from Alexander Street Press: the 33-volume JVC Video Anthology of World Music and Dance [alternate link], which contains some segments pertaining to Africa - volumes 16-19 (contents).

Removed from the collection, but still available

Discovering the Music of Africa (formerly Music/Media Library, ML3760 D57 1987 [originally released in 1967] - VHS videocassette) / Barr Films - while describing and demonstrating the music and rhythms of Africa (especially Ghana) using bells, rattles and drums, several traditional dances are depicted.  (22 min.) Luckily, this film is streaming from The Internet Archive and also YouTube.