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Truly A. Austin, IDSVA





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Cumberland County


This dissertation establishes the concept of what I have named “removed closeness” as a means through which to develop a deeper understanding of, and dismantle ethereal discussions around, dance forms of the African Diaspora. I assert that removed closeness empowers the Black Tap Dancing Body to cross boundaries of geography, space, and time, enabling it to serve as a vehicle for catharsis, provide access to the sublime, and secure the future of Tap Dance as it maintains the link between tradition and innovation. Part One unpacks the concept of removed closeness and discusses catharsis, the sublime,and how removed closeness allows access to both. Additionally, African religion is discussed to clarify how African and western philosophical ideas can be bridged via the analysis of removed closeness and its manifestation in dance. Part Two delves into the history of Tap Dance, providing further context of the art form and how it became what we see today. Connections are drawn between the Black American movement systems involved in the creation of Tap Dance and the African movement systems that provided the initial groundwork. Part Three provides an earnest attempt to determine the future of the Black Tap Dancing Body. The philosophy of Afrofuturism is unpacked, along with its intersection with removed closeness– both place emphasis on the importance of maintaining a connection to tradition and using that connection to move forward, grow, andevolve. The first purpose of this research is to find a different way to understand the Black Dancing Body and investigate the experience of its past, present, andfuture. The second purpose is to give words to an experience and provide another discursive entry point for those most impacted by this query: Black Dancing Bodies that are performing Black Dance forms while navigating white dominated spaces.


Aesthetics | African American Studies | Art Practice | Dance | Philosophy


Institute for Doctoral Studies in The Visual Arts


Portland ME

Removed Closeness: A Phenomenological Inquiry into the Black Tap Dancing body Across Geographies, Space, and Time



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