Alum Naomi Bragin Publishes Kinethic California

08 May, 2024

Alum Naomi Bragin Publishes Kinethic California

Alum Naomi Macalalad Bragin publishes "Kinethic California: Dancing Funk and Disco Era Kinships" with the University of Michigan Press!

Kinethic California: Dancing Funk and Disco Era Kinships documents the emergence of new forms of black social and vernacular dance invented by youth living in 1970s California, who helped build the foundations of contemporary hip hop/streetdance culture. Naomi Macalalad Bragin weaves interviews and ethnographies of first-generation (1960s-70s) dancers of strutting, boogaloo, robotting, popping, locking, waacking, and punking styles, as it advances a theory of dance as kinetic kinship formation through a focus on techniques and practices of the dancers themselves. She offers that the term given to these collective movement practices is kinethic to bring attention to motion at the core of black aesthetics that generate dances as forms of kinship beyond blood relation. Kinethics reorient dancers toward kinetic kinship in ways that give continuity to black dance lineages under persistent conditions of disappearance and loss. As dancers engage kinethics, they reinvent gestural vocabularies that describe worlds they imagine into knowing-being.
The stories in Kinethic California attend to the aesthetics of everyday movement, seen through the lens of young artists who, from childhood, listened to their family’s soul and funk records, observed the bent-leg strolls and rhythmic handshakes of people moving through their neighborhoods, and watched each other move at house parties, school gyms, and around-the-way social clubs. Their aesthetic sociality and geographic movement provided materials for collective study and creative play. Bragin attends to such multidirectional conversations between dancer, community, and tradition, by which California dance lineages emerge and take flight.

Naomi Macalalad Bragin is Associate Professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington Bothell.

Check it out here!