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Robin Gee Wins Prestigious Fulbright Award
UNCG Dance professor Robin Gee has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright Award to research and teach Dance in Bamako, Mali from December 2012 to June 2013. Since 1947, the United States Department of State has sponsored the Fulbright program to exchange knowledge and ideas with the international community. As the U.S. government’s flagship academic exchange program, the application process for the Fulbright is extremely rigorous. Applicants must submit a detailed proposal, work samples, and letters of recommendation to four different committees. The eight-month process is highly competitive, and IPC congratulates Gee on this fantastic opportunity. Below, Gee describes the work she will be doing in Mali.
Urban Griots: (Re) Imagining the Word.
By Robin Gee
Professor Robin Gee
As an African American woman and artist rooted in neo-traditional performance, I seek to enhance the possibilities for perceiving dance as a reflection of our own lived experience. To do so I draw upon my personal, cultural and artistic histories to create work that contributes to a larger discourse on race, place and belonging and which illuminates the contributions of the Africanist presence in American performance art. These hyphenated or hybridized explorations find fruition through written and digital scholarship, filmography and choreographic investigations.
The goal of this project is to document two traditional Malian dances, jali don and Sandia Smali, and their corresponding musical accompaniment through the use of multimedia technology and to investigate the current process of transformation and evolution apparent in the form. The investigation consists of video documentation of the dance and music in context and interviews with members of the jali caste of oral historians. This research hopes to expand existing knowledge of the traditional role of the jali caste in community (dance) events and reveal the impact of globalization (place) on traditional African occupational identities. Concurrent to the documentation of the dances is the development of a Dance for the Camera film that will synthesize this traditional content in a contemporary format using digital means. This model of dance documentation augments current theories in the field of dance research and supports the methodological means by which I seek to link my research to my pedagogical and creative practices. The choreographic work will be synthesized by accessing the creative and technical faculty at the Conservatoire des Arts et Métier Multimedia Balla Fasseke` Kouyate` in Bamako, Mali where I hope to conduct courses in African American vernacular dance forms (Jazz/hip hop) and contemporary dance vocabularies. The cornerstone of my creative work lies in the documentation and analysis of traditional West African dance forms and the application of that data to my own choreographic work.