Type of Document Dissertation Author Davis-Craig, Andrea-LaToya URN etd-04102009-151259 Title Building Community: African Dancing and Drumming in the Little Village of Tallahassee, Florida Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Art Education, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Pat Villeneuve Committee Chair Marcia Rosal Committee Member Tom Anderson Committee Member Patricia Young Outside Committee Member Keywords
- Sense of community
- African drumming
- African dancing
- Arts Administration
Date of Defense 2009-03-19 Availability unrestricted AbstractA socially created community has emerged in Tallahassee, Florida, with West African dancing and drumming at its core. This phenomenological study is to describe and understand the nature of the African dancing and drumming community in Tallahassee, Florida, and its function within its participants’ lives as focused on from a group paradigm using a participant case study design. The basic research question is what are the factors that allow African dancing and drumming to help build “community” as the participants describe community? This research uses social survey document analysis, participant observation, interviews (personal and oral history), and focus group methodology to 1) provide an accurate historical account of the development, major milestones, and contributors to the Tallahassee African dance and drum scene, 2) determine what the participants mean by the term “community” and establish a definition of community based on their meaning utilizing the McMillan and Chavis (1986, 1996) model, and 3) identify what factors led to the creation and sustaining of this sense of community.
Based on my research, I was able to develop a context specific definition for the term community: The Tallahassee African Dance and Drum community consists of multi-generation members, relating and functioning like a family, providing support and energy for one another, while paying homage to the African cultural traditions, developing through an organic evolution and maintaining through a love for the art.
Additionally, through this research process I have identified a set of key elements necessary to create and sustain the members’ sense of community. These elements are: (a) appreciation of tradition; (b) concept of family; (c) communication; (d) support; (e) energy; (f) love of the arts.
I have found that in the Tallahassee African dance and drum community, dance has extended beyond a classroom experience and has integrated itself into a way of functioning for most participants. The embracing of family along with the cultural and organizational traditions (social organization) that are in place has created a village (in the African sense of the word) in the capital city of Florida.
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