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Ava LaVonne Vinesett

Professor of the Practice of Dance
Dance Program
Box 90686, Durham, NC 27708-0686
2020 Campus Drive, Suite 209D, Durham, NC 27708


The transmission of danced legacies and the identification of their evolutionary presence in contemporary venues are the primary underpinnings of my artistic work. The physical articulation of cultural beliefs is the space from which I continue to research, choreograph, and perform in order to contribute to creating deeper expressions of the living art of African dance forms and their connection to personal/group identity. My research continues to examine how African and African-derived dance unfolds its many identities. Dance is an expression of perseverance and is a creative continuation of cultural mores. As a symbol of survival, dance both embodies and transmits traditions. These time honored, well established dances provide a means for present day access to, and direct experience with earlier traditions which oftentimes only exist in the context of dance related rituals. The unfolding identity of dance creates a framework for analyzing the aesthetic, technical, ceremonial, spiritual, and sacred tenets that layer traditional African and African-derived dance forms. This concept provides the foundation for several of my completed projects and it continues to shape the thematic content of present works. I coined the term “dance translator” to address my process of examining my personal voice in dance. Using my body as text, I am able to communicate an existing legacy of danced religious, spiritual, and cultural beliefs.

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Professor of the Practice of Dance · 2020 - Present Dance Program, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences

Education, Training & Certifications

University of North Carolina, Greensboro · 1998 M.F.A.
North Carolina Central University · 1987 B.A.