January 14, 2014
Dr. Matthew Clothier
The Pembroke Hill School Capstone Committee
5121 Stateline Rd.
Kansas City, Missouri 64112
Dear Dr. Clothier:
My capstone for the 2014 English year is going to focus on the history of Nigerian dance; what makes Nigerian dance, Nigerian? Having this be such a broad topic gives me the opportunity to dive in and choose any path I want to focus on. What I am truly interested in is what makes Nigerian dance different from other African dances. I want to know how the costumes, the instruments, and the drums make it so different from all of the other African dances. My reasons and motivation for choosing this topic is because I love dance. I am well educated in the art of ballet, tap, and other common forms of dance, but African dance is a form that I know little about. I want to take this opportunity to learn as much as I can about this type of dance.
My current knowledge of this subject is very minimal. I have danced African dance before, but it was a generic type of dance it was the “American- African” dance. It does have the same feel, but not the same costumes and drums that Nigerian dance has. This project moves me beyond my current knowledge by allowing me to experience real Nigerian dance. I will learn the meaning of the costumes, the different drums, and what makes the music different from other African beats. My guiding question of what makes Nigerian dance different from other African dances will help answer what is the history of this dance, what does each dance step mean, and most importantly, how is this dance danced, what are the rhythms.
This topic will move me out of my comfort zone by connecting me with professional Nigerian dancers who will teach me the craft. I will be put in a class of Nigerian dancers and will force myself to assimilate to the culture and learn what this dance means. This project will allow me to immerse myself into a new art form. This will benefit the surrounding community by having one more body that knows where Nigerian dance comes from and will be able to share its story with those around.
The real world experience to this project is having myself partake in this dance. I will be able to take Nigerian dance classes and learn from the professionals, themselves. I will talk with them and take notes and learn everything I can from those who know this dance by heart. The estimated commitment to this fieldwork will be a couple of classes for some weeks, and an interview with the professional who can share with me everything I need to know to have a successful project. The contacts I have are from the dance studio, The Kansas City Metropolitan Dance Theater that offers African dance. I will be able to talk to the African teacher who will connect me to other African teachers that know practice, specifically, Nigerian Dance.
When my topic gets approved I will proceed with the African dance teacher, Terri Brown, and she will help me dive deeper in the African dance community. She will connect me to the dancer that knows the most about African dance which will help me further the success of my project. I will be able to meet with this person before and or after the dance class that I will take from them. This person will not only teach me the dance from Nigeria, but also my primary source for information. As of right now, I only plan to consult with Dr. Clothier and my field expert for my project, which is not a Pembroke Hill School faculty member.
I may encounter obstacles if my field expert is from Nigeria and their accent may be too strong for me to understand. If this does become an obstacle I will take my time and understand every word. The least I could do is to listen to their vital information that they have agreed to share with me. I will appreciate and not waste their time.
This project will be exciting and full of fun music and dancing. I will learn what makes Nigerian dance, Nigerian. I will bring in the costumes and find the instruments that make the music so special to this dance. Having a project about dance will keep me interested, but having a project about a dance form I am not educated in will not bore me.
Class of 2014