The Commodification and Appropriation of African-American Vernacular Dances
Jacobowitz, Danielle L.
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African-Americans historically have learned dance through observation, participation, and social/community ties. This is the very definition of situated learning. Lindy hop and blues dance are two social dances which were created by and for African-Americans. Lindy hop and blues dance instructors and organizers have codified and commodified these historical African-American social dances, which has affected the composition of the community of learners, thus creating cultural erasure and placing undue focus on the preservation, and not the evolution, of these dances. Adopting pieces of an art that is historically linked to a culture without understanding the depth of that link is a kind of cultural appropriation. Cultural appropriation goes beyond offending people; it continues patterns of disempowering groups of people who are already marginalized. Cultural appropriation is a common problem in African-American history, and dance is no exception (Young, 2010).
- Education - Seattle