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Buschasche Etude

A favorite instructional achievement occurred during the coaching and staging of the Bushasche Etude with UNCG Dance education students. Powerful and profound choreography by Pearl Primus. The dance is based on a traditional dance from Zaire. Primus was a woman ahead of her time as an artist, intellectual, and academic, her work cut across so many disciplines. The work of Pearl Primus served to transform the landscape of American and African dance. A member of the New Dance Group, whose motto was “Dance is a Weapon,” she created powerful protest dances including The Negro Speaks of Rivers, Strange Fruit, Hard Time Blues, that decried the evils of racism and inequality, and she assembled the first mixed race group to perform throughout the American South. 

The Bushasche Etude was initially reconstructed for American Dance Legacy Initiative's Repertory Etudes Collection by Peggy Schwartz. Repertory Etudes are short dances based on signature works of American choreographers, available for study, viewing, and performance. Inspiring Educator and ADLI curricula writer and specialist Diane McGhee came to UNCG to teach the work.  During the process of reconstruction, multiple layers of mentorship and dynamic instruction relationships grew and evolved. Learning modalities of motivation, professionalism, authentic expression, and personal connections were identified and the process and product was shared at state and national conference session in 2016-2017. 


“Why do I dance? Dance is my medicine. It’s the scream which eases for a while the terrible frustration common to all human beings who because of race, creed, or color, are ‘invisible’. Dance is the first with which I fight the sickening ignorance of prejudice.”     Pearl Primus

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