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Ritual denotes an action or series of actions that are performed to have an effect – to alter the weather, say, or move a person from one phase of life to another in a transitional rite of passage.


01:05:15
Bagamoyo Festival 2009
Documentary of the 2009 Bagamoyo Festival.
00:31:56
Essay on Dr. Barbara Ann Teer interview conducted by Kathy A. Perkins
Since 1981, I have been conducting research on black women behind the scenes in the American theatre. As a black female lighting designer, I am aware of our invisibility within the larger American theatre and have made an effort to expose these women to a wider audience. I have interviewed numerous black women who have made significant contributions to American theatre. These women include designers, producers, directors, playwrights, artistic directors, and other individuals working behind the scenes. Dr. Teer (1937-2008) was a professional actress, director, producer, and visionary. Born in the predominantly black city of East St. Louis, Illinois, Teer was surrounded by a family of community activists, entrepreneurs, artists, and educators. Her family and community environment shaped her future in the arts. Considered a genius, she graduated from the University of Illinois at the age of 19. Having had a professional career both in dance and acting on Broadway, off-Broadway, film, and television, she became disillusioned with the roles available for black women. As an entrepreneur, Dr. Teer founded the National Black Theatre (NBT) in 1968, making it the first revenue-generating black theatre complex in the U.S. She believed it vital that NBT be situated in Harlem, where it would serve and empower the black community. Dr. Teer began to develop her own acting methods, breaking from traditional western styles. She called her theatre a temple and her actors liberators. She broke the fourth wall to include the audience. She created NBT as a cultural institution – a place where one could be educated and entertained simultaneously. She travelled to Africa and brought back many aspects of the culture to incorporate into her productions. Dr. Teer was indeed a pioneer. In 2016, NBT celebrated 48 years as an institution.
00:19:04
Glenda Dickerson
Since 1981, I have been conducting research on black women behind the scenes in the American theatre. As a black female lighting designer, I am aware of our invisibility within the larger American theatre and have made an effort to expose these women to a wider audience. I have interviewed numerous black women who have made significant contributions to the American theatre. These women include designers, producers, directors, playwrights, artistic directors, and other individuals working behind the scenes. This is a rare interview I conducted with Glenda Dickerson (1945-2012) during a rehearsal of her adaptation of The Trojan Women, performed with an all-black cast during January 1983. This interview is very dear to me as Dickerson was a mentor. I followed her career with various interviews, tapings at conferences, and the publication of one of her plays. Glenda Dickerson was a director, folklorist, actress, adapter/conceiver, and educator. With a career of nearly 40 years she was known for her unique adaptations of Greek classics, African American folktales, the feminist theatre approach, and ensemble work. She was the second black woman to direct on Broadway with the 1980 musical Reggae. Her work has also been presented nationally and internationally. In the commercial arena she was constantly presented with racial and gender challenges. After working in mainstream theatre for many years, Dickerson chose to focus her talents on educational and community-oriented theatre. She also began to concentrate on feminist/womanist theatre. She taught at Howard University, Spelman, Rutgers, and the University of Michigan. Only in recent years is her work finally gaining recognition, but as with many other black women, Dickerson’s contributions are largely unknown.
01:03:30
Makuya Festival
MaKuYa Festival is an art festival which highlights the traditions and cultural aspects of a three tribes consortium.
00:23:34
Nimilitha: The Story of a Siddi Girl Who Closed Her Eyes
Siddi theatre performers and sisters, Geeta and Girija Siddi, performing in a two-week festival, Telling Our Stories of Home: Exploring and Celebrating Changing African & African Diaspora Communities.
00:24:01
Odissi P1
A film made by Rekha Tandon’s company, Dance Routes, that begins with a description of Odissi’s background as a temple dance tradition, and an account of its basic form and ornamentation.


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