WMU News

Acclaimed dancer to visit WMU

February 4, 1999

KALAMAZOO -- An acclaimed professional dancer, teacher, author and authority on African American culture will come to Kalamazoo Feb. 7-13 through Western Michigan University's Visiting Scholars & Artists Program.

Dr. C. S'thembile (stem-BEE-lay) West, who will make a series of public presentations, has had a diverse career spanning the arts, print and broadcast media as well as education. In New York, she danced professionally with the Chuck Davis Dance Company, Dianne McIntyre's Sounds in Motion Dance Company, Lynn Simonson's Uncompany and with Crowsfeet Dance Collective. She also has taught health, dance, arts criticism and African American history at various education levels and was a Fulbright-Hays scholar to the Southern African region.

West earned a Ph.D. in African American studies at Temple University and a master's in dance education at Columbia University Teachers College. Her expertise as a humanities scholar and researcher has contributed to projects initiated by the American Dance Festival, the Minnesota Dance Alliance, University of New York and Temple University's Upward Bound educational services program. She also has written about African American arts and history in the NAACP's Crisis magazine, the New York Amsterdam News and in a variety of educational and scholarly journals.

West's visit will be highlighted by several free lectures, slide and videotape presentations open to the public. The first presentation, titled "Modernism and Katherine Dunham," is at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 8, in the Dalton Center Lecture Hall. The next presentation, "African Aesthetic Analysis" on Negro spirituals in historical context, message and meaning, is at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 9, in Dance Studio B (11 a.m.) and a classroom (1 p.m.) in Dalton Center.

Other presentations are: "Literary Voices: Harlem Renaissance & Beyond," at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 9, in the Dalton Center Lecture Hall; "The Arts in African American Culture: Critical Theory and Analysis," at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10, in Room 3502 of Knauss Hall; and "Deep Roots Shifting Resonances," at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11, in the Dalton Center Lecture Hall.

People also may attend two special dance events: "African Expression: Dance Technique" at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10; and a colloquium for dance majors and minors and wrap-up session with West at 3:45 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 12. Both events will be held in Dance Studio B of the Dalton Center.

The Visiting Scholars and Artists Program was established in 1960 and has supported some 500 visits by scholars and artists representing more than 65 academic disciplines. The chairperson of the committee who oversees the program is Dr. James M. Hillenbrand, professor of speech pathology and audiology.

In addition to that program, West's visit is being sponsored by WMU's Departments of Dance, Anthropology and English. For more information, persons should contact Trudy Cobb, associate professor of dance, at (616) 387-5834.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 616 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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