The race of contemporary ballet: Interpellations of africanist aesthetics

Thomas F. DeFrantz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


This chapter considers the tripartite formation of who, what, and how in considerations of Africanist aesthetics and Black mobilizations that fuel contemporary ballet. Who dances contemporary ballet, and are they Black? What sorts of Black dance movements are deployed in contemporary ballet? And, most important, how does a Black attitude mark performances within ballet as belonging to a contemporary moment? The chapter presumes that contemporary ballet emerges in direct relationship to Africanist aesthetics. It considers work by William Forsythe, Alonzo King, and Twyla Tharp as a trio of artists whose work continues to circulate with different relationships to questions of Black dancers, dances, dancing, and the contemporary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Ballet
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9780190871499
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


  • Africanist aesthetics
  • Alonzo king
  • Black dance
  • Black mobilizations
  • Twyla tharp
  • William forsythe

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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