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Maya Angelou And Dance

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Table of contents

  1. Philosophy of Life
  2. Peacemaker
  3. Dance
  4. Folk Dance
  5. Work Cited

Maya Angelou was born in St. Louis, Missouri. When her parents split, she was only three years old; Bailey (her brother) and Maya went to live with their grandmother.

Growing up, Maya Angelou faced many racial factors of being a black woman. With this in mind, she grew up with a deep faith to believe in the good. When Maya Angelou was eight years old she was molested at eight years old by her mother’s boyfriend. She did not speak until five years later, when she found out that her attacker was killed by her uncle. Maya attended Mission High School, where she won a scholarship to study dance and drama at 14 years old. The reason she dropped out of high school was because she was the first car conductor for San Francisco’s. She went back to school, and got pregnant her last year of high school; Maya still ended up graduating with her class. Her first occupation was a nightclub singer, and eventually it ended up being a success. All this led her interest as a writer.

Philosophy of Life

Maya had a desire for people to live life in a way that we would not regret. Her dance teacher exposed her to books and poems of authors such as: Shakespeare and Charles Dickens. Maya quoted some her the authors by memorizing powerful words, which eventually opened her eyes to the world of poetry. Words cannot pull humans down, but only bring them back by fighting back for what individuals believe in. Every job she applied to, she was denied, and this is something she wanted to advocate for women.

Her philosophy of life was liberation meaning to be free and do not let anything hold individuals back.

Some of her major works produced were her autobiographical writings, and she was also presented for Pulitzer Prize for volume of poetry. She was the first African American poet, who participated in the presidential inauguration. Maya was the first female poet in the U.S presidential history. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969) On the Pulse Morning (1993), And Still I Rise (1978). She changed the world by fighting back for what she believed in. Maya never gave up, and she was always positive throughout her whole life.


Maya Angelou inspired the world to change because she did not like how women were not getting jobs. She wrote in her poems how she was not equally treated as a black African American women, so in her writings she emphasized the importance of making society better than it was in her days. Maya poems are still known today, and she cared for women’s rights. In today’s institutions her poems and literature are still recognized and she is a well written poet, dancer, performance and writer.

In the public opinion, she was highly respected for her work, and she got praised. At the time when black women’s voices were not heard and muted, Maya Angelou wanted to tell her story and to be heard, so she stood up for the black women, and became a civil activist. She shared her stories with the world and wrote poems to express how she felt. Her poems were the open doors, and Michelle Obama noticed her. She influenced the society through her poems and did not want people to discriminate.

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Her ideas still resonate with society today because she showed us freedom of speech, fight for we believe in, and stand up for people who do not have a voice. Maya is seen as a role model and she inspired several individuals mostly the black women community. Her poems and stories that were told empowered women and exemplified that women can it do too. Back then there was no technology and people could not go on social media to find any news. Times have changed now, for instance women are emerging and shaping their stories to something greater as well as their voices are being heard. Black women are still being oppressed by social media, and all the new technology advancing. For an example, we see Serena Williams getting penalized for smashing a racquet, and using verbal abuse. Instead of taking away a point from her score the Umpire Ramos took the full game away. The observers of that game blamed her for letting her temper get out of hand. We see how black women are still being oppressed, having to deal with racism and sexism. Men still away with saying worse things, and nothing happens to them, but if a black female were to do it, then it is wrong which is unfair treatment to women. Black women black women are being unfairly treated today, and this is something that Maya Angelou highlighted in her work and was trying to get black women to speak up and not be brought down by other individuals and their words.


Quote: “Everything in the universe has rhythm. Everything dances.”

The significance of this metaphor is everything in the world moves, whether we see it or not. Every life is different, and we need to not be afraid to show dance which represents the individual’s life. Find the rhythm to create the dance because everyone is unique. Everyone needs to realize that we are all different and do not hold back who they are.

A connection of the quote and Maya’s philosophy of liberation would be “The more liberated a person is, the more free she can be […].” The key is to express the voice you have. Her mother allowed her to be free and she was allowed to come home whenever she wanted too. Being free permitted her to become who she was and she influenced others to not hold anything back, speak up and do not let anyone control you.

Folk Dance

The main concept of the folk dance would be empowering black women.

The rhythm would be so slow in the beginning to show the people setting up their struggles, then to continue the middle would pick up speed, and the music will connect to the audience to draw emotion. The ending would be more intense, along with multiple dancers coming together.

One main individual would be in the center, and the other dancers represent obstacles or struggles in that person’s life; the dancers would interact with the one in the main character like pushing and shoving with a soft touch to symbolize that accomplishment of that person’s barrier. All the dancers leave the stage before the music goes off, and the last few seconds the center dancer is the last one to end the dance.

The movement throughout the dance represents freedom. The kicking along with waving arms and legs present someone trying to liberate themselves from what has been holding them back. By the sounds of the music and the pace of it all, the key factor is emotion, because if there are several emotions within in the dance, the audience would be able to feel a connection to the dancers.

Work Cited

  1. Banerjee, S. (2018, October 26). “The many lives of Maya Angelou The writer reflects on her ‘philosophy of liberation’”. Retrieved from
  2. Mason, D. L. (2018, January 18). How Did Maya Angelou Go From Prostitute to Acclaimed Author? Retrieved from
  3. Maya Angelou. (2018, October 22). Retrieved from
  4. Maya Angelou Quote: ‘Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances.’. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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Maya Angelou And Dance. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 25, 2023, from
“Maya Angelou And Dance.” Edubirdie, 17 Feb. 2022,
Maya Angelou And Dance. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 25 Sept. 2023].
Maya Angelou And Dance [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 17 [cited 2023 Sept 25]. Available from:
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