Africa dance pioneer Kariamu Welsh dead at 72

Kariamu Welsh, one of the pioneers of African dance studies, died July 16 in Los Angeles, according to Bloomberg. She was 72.

The dance studies department she founded in 1987 at Boston University worked with faculty from Ghana, Senegal, Congo, Zambia, Nigeria, Liberia, Tanzania, and other countries to train them in dance and performance, a field she continued to work in until her death.

In a statement to Bloomberg on Saturday, B.U. dean Colleen O’Brien said Welsh’s work changed the way that dance was understood.

Welsh was a former executive director at Women’s Initiatives in Dance and Dance Theatre West, and in 1998 was chosen by the council of the Arts in Diplomacy program to take part in its program at the London School of Economics, as a representative of dance and African dance for the U.S.

A statement from the dance studies department at B.U. said the journal her department published, African Dance and Movements for Understanding, had become “the textbook of dance,” and a line in its introduction referenced work by Welsh as being “one of the leading exponents of dance.”

Read the full obituary here.

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