Dancer C. Kemal Nance '92 Discovered His Passion Through a Gym Credit

C. Kemal Nance '92

The News-Gazette (Champaign, Ill.)Studio Visit: Kemal Nance

C. Kemal Nance '92 is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Illinois in African-American studies and a lecturer for dance at Illinois. 

“I always loved to move. I always loved to dance. I consider dancing with my mom in the living room before school and dancing to Soul Train with my aunts and uncles my first lessons in dance.

"I got my first formal training at Swarthmore College. I was trying to fulfill what they called college gym credits and they were offering African dance as a way to complete two of the four gym credits I needed. I thought it would be a fun time. So I enrolled in the class and met my dance mentor/mother, Kariamu Welsh. I just fell in love with it. That turned into me taking more African dance classes and then modern dance, composition, and improvisation, and one thing turned into another."

Read the full interview at The News-Gazette

Nance graduated from Swarthmore in 1992 with a major in sociology and anthropology and a concentration in Black studies. He also taught African dance at Swarthmore for 20 years as an associate in performance in the Music and Dance Department. He holds a masters in education in dance and a Ph.D. from Temple University, where he received Temple's Katherine Dunham Award for Creative Dance Research. Currently, Nance co-directs the Berry & Nance Dance Project, a dance initiative dedicated to the production of dance works about African American men.