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African Dance in Ghana: Contemporary Transformations
In African Dance in Ghana: Contemporary Transformations, Professor Francis Nii-Yartey tells the story of the development of dance – both traditional and contemporary – since Ghana’s independence. The book charts the people and events that influenced new forms of dance and their impact on art, culture and national identity. The dances that emerge combine centuries-old tradition with a yearning for original expression and innovation.
Nii-Yartey is uniquely equipped to tell the story, having been directly involved through his directorship of the Department of Dance at the University of Ghana and his involvement in establishing the Ghana Dance Ensemble and the Noyam African Dance Institute.
The second part of the book gives detailed choreographic instructions for 18 dance pieces, most of which were written, choreographed and directed by the author. They form an invaluable legacy to his career.
Francis Nii-Yartey has been in the forefront of the development of dance-theatre and contemporary African dance in Ghana as an academic and teacher in his role as an Associate Professor and Head of Department of Dance Studies at the School of Performing Arts, University of Ghana, Legon.
He was also the Artistic Director of the Ghana Dance Ensemble at the University of Ghana from 1976 to 1993 and the National Dance Company of Ghana at the National Theatre from 1993 to 2006.
In 2006 Nii-Yartey was appointed Distinguished Visiting Cornell Professor at Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania, USA. He also taught at Ashesi University in Ghana and was a Visiting Professor at Keene State College, USA.
Nii-Yartey travelled extensively, conducting workshops, lecturing and choreographing. He was President of the Ghana Chapter of the International Dance Council (UNESCO). In 1998, Nii-Yartey began his own dance institution to explore his choreographic vision: Noyam African Dance Institute, the first of its kind in the country. In his written work, scholarship and choreographic works, Nii-Yartey worked to investigate ways in which dance can both reflect and shape social change.
His many awards included the Grand Medal (Civil Division) by the Head of State of Ghana for his contribution to choreography and dance development generally in Ghana.