The National Association of American African Dance Teachers (NAAADT) envisions an America in which African dance is integral to the study of dance in a diversity of educational milieu, where Umfundalai is the philosophical model for emerging African Diasporic dance practice, and where standards of excellence pervade African dance teaching throughout the country. NAAADT envisions itself as the premiere clearinghouse for evocative and provocative African dance practice.
In 2000, Umfundalai dancers, Josephine Heard, Glendola Xllyhema Mills, Ed.D, C. Kemal Nance, PhD, and Cheryl Stevens, PhD started the Organization of Umfundalai Teachers (OUT) to staff annual Umfundalai-based initiatives. At that time, Umfundalai activities largely included the production of Kariamu & Company: Traditions’ concerts and staffing the Umfundalai Dance Intensives on Temple University’s main campus in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. The newly formed OUT had three goals: (1.) to create opportunities for artists to experience Umfundalai’s movement practice, (2.) to create opportunities for scholars to engage with Umfundalai’s emerging intellectual content (history, aesthetics, pedagogy, etc.), and (3.) to standardize the prerequisite experiences required to be certified in Umfundalai teaching. Most noteworthy is OUT’s attempt to decentralize, Umfundalai’s progenitor, Kariamu Welsh, D. Arts, as the locus of Umfundalai development. Unlike its predecessor organization, the Institute of African Dance Research and Performance, OUT sought to release Welsh from some of the administrative leadership of Umfundalai so that she could continue to develop its artistic reach through choreography and its theoretical scaffolding through academic scholarship.
We believe that every member of the NAAADT has something viable to contribute to the organization.
We believe that African dance exists wherever African people reside.
We believe in the preservation of African artistic traditions and the creation of new ones.
We believe that African and African Diasporan culture has value in the field of dance and in the health and wealth of African American people.
We believe in the holistic and safe teaching of African and African Diasporan dance expressions.
We believe in fostering community both among the members of the organization and the people with whom we come in contact.
We believe in activism, in reaching out to new communities to heighten awareness of and appreciation for African dance and culture.
We believe that each member of NAAADT is responsible for the change they want to see in the organization.
We believe that Umfundalai is a paradigm for the transmission of African culture and the evolution of African Diasporan Dance.
We believe that excellence should be paramount to the achievement of all NAAADT endeavors.
NAAADT Executive Team
Director of Finance
Tabatha Robinson, EdM
Director of Education
C. Kemal Nance, PhD