Afro Pop dancing with a master

Philip Amo Agyapong brought the theory and practice of African traditional dance forms to Stanford students.

For a dance student, the master class is a rare and treasured opportunity. It is a chance to not only observe an expert demonstrating a particular art, but also to physically engage with the expert. Over 20 Stanford students had that opportunity in Roble Gym with Afro Pop dance master Philip Amo Agyapong. Originally from Ghana, where he earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in dance from the University of Ghana, Agyapong is now based in the Bay Area, where he teaches the theory and practice of African traditional dance forms and performs with several companies.

Stanford News Service photographer Linda A. Cicero captures the event here.

Diane Frank, dance lecturer in the Department of Theater and Performance Studies in the School of Humanities and Sciences, invited Agyapong to teach a master class because she wanted to link traditional African dance with current popular forms. “African dance and African aesthetics have been carried down and through the diaspora community, of which Philip is a member. Afro Pop is a vibrant popular African dance form, current in the same way that hip-hop is current, a movement signature of the moment in an increasingly global world view,” she said. “I wanted to acknowledge and celebrate the richness that African dance offers to anyone willing to try it. It is lively, inclusive, and engaging – just like Philip, who provided a cultural context for the movement as it was being taught.”