Mapping African Atlantic Diaspora Dance Lineage

africa : ancestral rhythms

Birthplace of humanity. Mali Empire, Akan, Asante, Yoruba, Kongo
and many more kingdoms and cultures. 


Dancing Sculptures – Africa

early european contact

From 1500: trade in gold, ivory, guns and increasingly, sale of African captives to Europeans.
Dahomey, Oyo and Asante also profited from slavery until they were colonised.

Asante royal festival with European visitors and flags
Illustration by T.E. Bowdich 1814
Map by de l’Isle & Inselin 1718

looted during the British sacking and
colonisation of the kingdom in 1897.

Image © The Trustees of the British Museum

transatlantic slave trade

Industrialised slave trade & colonialism, most profitable to:
Spain, Portugal, Britain, France, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Sweden,
and their settlers in Americas. 

'middle passage'
death rate 10-20%

The Brookes Slave Ship 1787

Map: UNESCO/Harris 2006

3 months | 350 years
12-15 million people

La Marie Séraphique de Nantes 1770

surviving slavery

rhythms of solidarity, spirit and escape
mapped over 17-18thC slave trade routes.


African diaspora culture shapeshifted in response to Euro-colonial culture
by necessity, play, mockery


Image: Cakewalk c.1900

diaspora continuum

Circles show inter-diaspora influences and migrations northward 1820s –1980s


rhythm atlantic

African Atlantic Diaspora Living Heritage*

*not a complete list!