BiographyDr. Ofosuwa Abiola was born and raised in New York City. Her experience spans the performance, academic, and the arts administrative fields. She was a performer in the field for 16 years before she founded the African dance company, Suwabi African Ballet. Dr. Abiola served as Artistic Director of Suwabi for an additional 15 years. After 31 years as an artist, She returned to college to complete her Ph.D. in Dance History, with a major field of Africa and a minor focus on the African Diaspora. Her forte as a performer was researched-based African dance ballets, and site-specific works. She trained, toured, and performed in Africa, the Caribbean, and the US. Subsequently, She therefore brought over 3 decades of performance and industry administrative experience to the academic arena. Presently, in academia, Dr. Abiola's research fosters an interdisciplinary conversation between dance, history, cultural anthropology, and digital humanities. She is currently Associate Professor of Dance History, and Interim Chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance at Howard University.
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
Her research interests include the history of Africana (African, African American, and African Diaspora) dance; archival collections of Africana performance; and digital humanities. Professor Abiola's scholarship is driven by a commitment to underscore, document, and thereby preserve underresearched narratives in the history of Africana dance and performance. Through digital humanities platforms, Dr. Abiola's research also focuses on the historical representations of Africana performative phenomena, particularly the performance of ritual, and other non-theatrical depictions of performance in Africana life.
My person interest is the Afrofuturism movement as it relates to performance. Most view Afrofuturism as a literary topic. However, the movement was also advocated by and revealed through the choreographic works of dance artists. My interest in exposing the public to the underresearched but very significant and prevalent works of dance artists during historic Afrofuturism moments is not only professional but it is a personal interest of mine.
Published: Mar 06, 2021
The Nankama African Dance Conference was a two day immersion in African and African Diaspora dance scholarship. Scholars from South America, Germany, Puerto Rico, Haiti, and the United States, presented cutting-edge research on dance in Africa and the Diaspora. Representatives from the United States government's Cultural Exchange Program, Arts Envoy attended, as well as independent scholars, faculty, students, and staff from Howard University, its surrounding community, and across the country.
Published: Mar 06, 2021
The short-form documentary, History Dances: African Dance Systems as Methodologies was created to serve as a supplement to the monograph with a similar name (History Dances: Chronicling the History of Traditional Mandinka Dance). It provides visual support for the argument that African dance systems can be utilized as primary sources for research and writing historical narratives.