C. Kemal Nance, PhD

ARTIST SCHOLAR 

C. Kemal Nance, PhD “Kibon” a native of Chester, Pennsylvania is a performer, choreographer, and scholar of African Diasporan Dance. 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.

Dr. Nance is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Dance and African American Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he teaches courses in contemporary African Dance practice (Umfundalai), dance history, Black masculinities, and repertory.  He is master teacher for the Umfundalai technique of African dance.  Nance holds a BA in Sociology/ Anthropology  with the concentration of Black Studies from Swarthmore College where he taught African dance technique and repertory courses  for 20 years.  He also holds  M. Ed. and PhD degrees in Dance from Temple University where he was the 2013 recipient of the 2013 Katherine Dunham Award for Creative Research.  Dr. Nance's scholarship seeks to theorize the lived experiences of Black men who study and perform African-informed movement practices.   His doctoral dissertation, "Brothers of the Bah Yah!: The Pursuit of Maleness in the Umfundalai Tradition of African Dance"  has given way to book chapters in the forthcoming Dance and Quality of Life  and African Dance in America: Perpetual Motion and Hot Feet.

As a performer, Dr. Nance has danced with several neo-traditional African Dance Companies throughout the Greater Philadelphia area including Ibeji West African Dance Company, The Children of Shango, and Dunya.  He was a founding member of the Seventh Principle Performance Company (South Orange, NJ) and a recurring guest artist with Chuck Davis’ African American Dance Ensemble (AADE) in Durham, North Carolina. Dr. Nance was a principal dancer with Kariamu & Company: Traditions (Philadelphia, PA) for which he served as Associate Artistic Director and Co-Director of the Berry & Nance Dance Project. His latest work, Manifesto, featured a combined cast of dancers from the Berry & Nance Dance Project and the Stella Maris Dance and was premiered in Kingston, Jamaica in November 2017.  Dr. Nance has also showcased an excerpt of the work with all male cast of Black British and American men in London in September.