Accompanying the book Narratives in Black British Dance: Embodied Practice
Interviews with Artists
These interviews accompany the book Narratives in Black British Dance: embodied practices. This site acts as a doorway using interviews to look from outside in to the lived experiences of artists’ practices. The book acts as a doorway from inside artists’ practices to speaking out through sharing their own narratives about dance.
“As I interviewed artists for this Embodied Practices volume, I found that dancers and choreographers speak through their bodies remembering their life experiences in a holistic manner. They bring self, to life, to artistry. My dance writing wants to capture this breath.”
Each of the artists I interviewed came to their practice through transition and travel. Many were born elsewhere and arrived in England to begin their dance career.
Others enhanced their artistry by traveling out of the country to participate in African diaspora art practices, to connect with their families, or to learn more about the wide array of cultural arts found in other countries. In all cases, the process of moving from one location to another, learning to adapt and adjust to different ideas about artistry and ethnicity, changed the artists’ approach to artmaking.
The interviews provided an opportunity for contemporary Black British choreographers and administrators to reflect upon how the process of journeying, implicit in the reality of working as an artist of the African diaspora, shapes their process and practice.‘ Anita Gonzalez (2018) Transatlantic Voyages: then and now chapter in Narratives in Black British Dance: embodied practices Ed. Adesola Akinleye London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Dance Artists are introduced to one another to engage in a process of exchanging their dance narratives (the story of their path). Each artist will take the time to create an artistic response to the other’s story. Responses are then submitted to the Narratives in Dance website. Responses can be choreography, film, photo-stories, written interviews… […]
Image credit – Evewright Studios, www.evewrightstudio.com April 16, 2016 You’re in Jamaica now. What are you working on? I’m at home in Jamaica with my sister who is also doing research. How does that feed you? As an artist I have always been focused on practice and the performances, but the end result is to educate and […]
From her office doing business On your website, you write: “A bird does not sing because it has an answer, It sings because it has a song” What is your song? Whatever I do is because of the passion. I do not really look at whether I’m perfect or not, but what I love and passionate about. When you have a passion, you believe and that is what you sing. My […]
The skype interview with Michael Joseph begins with the artist sitting in his backyard wearing a white T-shirt with a logo: WDSA (Wheelchair Dance Association) now called Para Dance UK. Michael is an Inclusive Community Dance Officer with a focus on disability. He sits with his cat Nell in the town of Hitchin, United Kingdom. […]
Buy the book Narratives in Black Bristish Dance
This book explores Black British dance from a number of previously-untold perspectives. Bringing together the voices of dance-artists, scholars, teachers and choreographers, it looks at a range of performing arts from dancehall to ballet, providing valuable insights into dance theory, performance, pedagogy, identity and culture. It challenges the presumption that Blackness, Britishness or dance are monolithic entities, instead arguing that all three are living networks created by rich histories, diverse faces and infinite future possibilities. Through a variety of critical and creative essays, this book suggests a widening of our conceptions of what British dance looks like, where it appears, and who is involved in its creation.Buy the Book
This is a timely, even crucial, anthology—a contribution to the emergent canon of scholarly work revealing Africanist cultural streams which, though “invisibilized” in a European post-colonial world, are alive and well, despite systemic racism and xenophobic exclusionism. Black British Dance is a rich and varied category and home base to embodied scholarship, performance, choreography and research by a cadre of gifted practitioners. It has a history. It has a present and a presence. It deserves this attention.
- Brenda Dixon-Gottschild, Ph.D. Prof. Emerita, Temple University
An important treaty to the significance of dance community challenging dominant stereotypes and structures that reproduce social inequalities, this book makes a vital and exciting contribution to the dance field, mapping humanizing possibilities dance can offer the 21st century.
- Doug Risner, Ph.D. editor-in-chief emeritus of Journal of Dance Education and associate editor of the international Journal Research in Dance Education.
This informative book is not just for scholarly research, but highlights the importance of artists discovery, journey development, understanding and practice of dance-art forms in Britain. Journeys we have witnessed in each other.
- Jackie Guy, MBE, CD, Teacher and Choreographer
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