module specification

AV4F52 - African and Caribbean Dance Technique 1 (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title African and Caribbean Dance Technique 1
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 15
School The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (The Cass)
Total study hours 150
75 hours Guided independent study
75 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 40%   Essay 1,000 words
Practical Examination 60%   Presentation of practical work-African and Caribbean
Running in 2017/18 No instances running in the year

Module summary

Focusing on selected African and Caribbean traditional dances as practised in the UK, this module will provide the basis for understanding the grounding, body placement and cultural relevance of the dances. It will concentrate on the structure of the body with emphasis on the significance of the rhythms and music styles specific to the countries where the dances are practised. The module will support the student’s progression of the technique and forms across relevant study and performance modules.

Module aims

This module aims for the student to:
• Acquire an understanding of the grounding and placement necessary by undertaking regular classes in African and Caribbean dance.
• Acquire technical skills in the execution of the movement form.
• Understand the principles and elements of African and Caribbean dances.
• Identify the movement vocabulary and associated rhythms.
• Acquire the knowledge of the cultural context in which the dances are created.


Study throughout this module will focus on the correct body alignment for traditional African and Caribbean dance. Grounding, energy and rhythmic sensitivity will be explored to support the movement language and physical expression. The emphasis will be on training the body to understand and interpret the movements, demonstrating its relationship and importance to the rhythms. Counter rhythms and polyrhythms are vital components of the practice as well as the undulation and pulsation techniques. These movements and rhythmic tools will be used as a means to support and enhance the practical understanding of the forms. An essay demonstrating the students understanding of the rules and principles of the movement and dance forms will be supported by drumming and percussion sessions to underpin further understanding.

Learning and teaching

Concentrated practical sessions to develop movement patterns, dance components and rhythmic features. Studio work, paying particular attention to grounding, body sensing and stance relating to African and Caribbean dance styles. Books, videos, films, lectures, master classes and field-trips will provide sources of reference to strengthen learning and support students research. Conditioning classes provided as part of the tutorial system support the work of the module.
There are opportunities for students to independently rehearse work in the studio with associated lecturers during the week, where they are also able to view their progress through video recordings, which will be posted on the College Moodle system for independent and studio usage.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module students will demonstrate the ability to:
• Demonstrate clearly the dance techniques, showing body positioning, rhythm patterns and stances.
• Analyse the social and cultural context of the dance, describe the key principles and characteristics of African and Caribbean dance.
• Apply grounding and placement principles to class work and set studies.  Perform with confidence set studies influenced by the movement vocabulary.
• Demonstrate an understanding of the names of the dances and associated rhythm patterns.

Assessment strategy

1. Presentation of practical solo work demonstrating awareness of safe practice within technique. Students will be assessed on correct body alignment for traditional African & Caribbean dance, grounding, energy, movement interpretation and rhythmic sensitivity. Presentation of practical assignment to demonstrate an understanding of interpreting the movements, showing the relationship to counter rhythms, polyrhythm, undulation and pulsation techniques. Week 12 60%

2. Course work 1,000 words written evaluation demonstrating an understanding of the principles of the movement style and language. The evaluation will include the significance of drumming and percussion to the dances, studio etiquette and being an independent learner. Week 14 40%


Carty H.S (1988 )  Folk Dances of Jamaica, An Insight. London: Dance Books Ltd. Nettleford, R. (1985) Dance Jamaica: Cultural Definition and Artistic Discovery: The National Dance Company of Jamaica. New York: Grove Press
Thorpe, E. (1990) Black Dance. New York: Overlook Press 
Welsh, K. (2004) African Dance Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publication.
Welsh, K. (2000) Zimbabwe dance: rhythmic forces ancestral voices-an aesthetic analysis. New Jersey: Africa World Press.

Bender W & Coester M. (2007)  A Reader in African-Jamaican Music, Dance and Religion. Kingston, Jamaica: Ian Randle Publishers.
Lamp, J.F. (ed) (2004) See The Music Hear The Dance: Rethinking African Art at the Baltimore Museum of Art. New York: Prestel Publisher
Matory. J. L. (2005) Black Atlantic Religion: Tradition, Transnationalism, and Matriarchy in the Afro-Brazilian Candomblé. New Jersey: Princeton University Press
Moon, J. (2001) Reflection in Learning and Professional Development. London:Kogan Page
Huet, M. and Savary C. (1996) The dances of Africa. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc.

African Music, Vol. 7, No. 4 (1999) Rhodes University
Muller, C. and Topp -Fargion, J. Gumboots, Bhaca Migrants, and Fred Astaire.

Gumboots: an explosion of spirit and song (2000)

Anthony Reid (2002) Drum Rhythms of the Caribbean

Jamaican Traditional Wake – Nine Night – Dinki Mini