Move Meant

<blockquote>Industry Journal</blockquote>
Magazine cover - line drawing of people standing in a circle. Skin Deep, Movements issue.

– published in Skin Deep, Issue 8 Movement, page 31-38

Citation: Akinleye, A. (2018) Move Meant, Stuart Hall Foundation Skin Deep, Iss: 8 Movement, pp. 31–38

Link to publisher

Abstract: In this article I use the  first few moment of my choreography work ‘The price of a ticket’ as a metaphor to explore wider social questions about visibility and activism. I begin the article by suggesting. (Below are images from my work used in the article) 

Globally, cultural worldviews are expressed in the traditional dances of the people who dance them. How we understand and respond to the world is etched into the contours and form of our bodies. Therefore, historically dance has emerged in response to violence and oppression, subjugation and censorship while also symbolizing cultural resistance. From scars to muscles that shape our movement, dance uses the moving body as a medium to tell stories of society that cannot be told in words, like an instrument for telling stories of what it means to be human.‘ page 33


I sit on a chair on the stage facing the back wall,

Only partially visible in the shadows cast by the houselights as the audience enters the auditorium.

They might see me but in my darkness I appear

As ‘not meant to be seen’: it has not started yet.

My heart pounds movement into the stillness of my sitting body.

The chair, the projector hung from the lighting rig, and the curtains around the stage

Have a covenant with me of a silent promise of dance.

My feet, ancestrally grounded, on the warm dance-floor I am

Aware of the height of the stage above my head.

Skin marks the edges of me: chest facing the darkness of the back of the stage,

My spine open to the entering audience as they file past me,

Ribs aware of the close heavy blackness of the velvet fireproofed curtains of the wings of stage-right

The stretch of emptiness across the stage from me to stage-left.

My breath is in tempered; regulated-calmness against the hectic murmuring of the finding-a-seat-audience – preparing.

And then the disintegration of voices to silence charts the fading of the houselights.

A projection shines on to my back.

The projected images lift the anonymity of the stage and we see I have begun.

I suck in the air around me

Draw it into my lungs

Blood it shapes the first movement, I throw my arm into the space

its darkness unites with me and defines the outline of my lit hand.

The grace of the dance is that, in that moment I blur into something of that place.

The breath of my outstretched arm prophesises the next movement

A turn spins the room around me, allows me to ride the allure of gravity.

My flesh cuts through the air and the room and floor conspire with me, so that,

I am the space I fill and I am the space my absence defines.

I am movement

This poem is about how I feel at the beginning of a performance of the dance piece I choreographed called ‘Passing 2: the price of a ticket’[1]. In this article, I use this choreography to frame reflections on dance and wider political movement.

[1] Title inspired by the quote from James Baldwin ‘the price of the ticket’. I changed ‘the’ to ‘a’ because the word ‘the’ implies that the ticket is attainable at a cost. In 21st Century I wonder if the ticket is a given anymore at all.

The publication features work by: Shailja Patel, Marwa Belghazi, Milo Matthieu, Kessie Alexandre, Adesola Akinleye, Maya Goodfellow, Akasha Rabut, Joshua Idehen, Yuna Chang, Belinda Zhawi, Rashayla Marie-Brown, Patrisse Khan Cullors, Anna Himali Howard, Afua Hirsch, Zhang Kechun, Forensic Architecture, Guppi Bola, iQiyah, Sweta Rana, A’Ishah Waheed, the Indigenous Environmental Network, Gary Younge, Ojima Abalaka, Michael Tada and Farah Fayyad.