C. KEMAL NANCE, PHD

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About Oluko...

C. Kemal Nance, PhD “Kibon” a native of Chester, Pennsylvania is a performer, choreographer, and scholar of African Diasporic Dance. He is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Dance and African American Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Attendees at the Colloquium of Black Arts in Bahia, Salvador knighted him “Kibon” – the name of a Brazilian ice cream to reflect the “delicious time“ they experienced in his movement class. Nance is a master teacher of the Umfundalai technique of African dance and in 2021 was named “Oluko,” Umfundalai’s highest honor by the technique’s progenitor, Kariamu Welsh, D. Arts. His work with the National Association of American African Dance Teachers (NAAADT) has resulted in teachers’ training programs for budding African dance artists to be certified in the technique. 

Nance performed as a principal dancer with Kariamu & Company: Traditions (Philadelphia, PA) and as a recurring guest artist with Chuck Davis’ African American Dance Ensemble (AADE) in Durham, North Carolina. He currently directs the Nance Dance Collective (www.blackmendance.com), an all-male dance initiative that produces dance works about Black manhood. His choreographies have appeared on national and international stages including the Afro Dance Xplosion Showcase in London, United Kingdom and the Stella Maris Dance Ensemble’s seasons of dance in Kingston, Jamaica. He is a 2021 recipient of the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship.  His scholarly research has been published in several anthologies including Karen Bond’s Dance and the Quality of Life, Kariamu Welsh’s and Esailama Diouf’s Hot Feet and Social Change African Dance in Diasporic Communities, and the Doug Risner’s forthcoming Masculinity, Intersectionality and Identity: Why Boys (Don’t) Dance.  

Nance holds BA in Sociology/Anthropology with concentration in Black Studies from Swarthmore College where he taught for 20 years.  He also holds M.ED. and PhD degrees in Dance from Temple University.