Narratives in Black British Dance: Embodied Practices

This edited anthology remedies the distinct lack of publication on Dance of the African Diaspora from a post­colonial British perspective. Within the book are contributions from scholars and artists from across the field of dance. The book explores the multi-layered, multi-dimensional nature of artists and artistic work from within the spectrums of ‘Blackness', ‘Britishness’, and ‘dance’ <blockquote>Akinleye, A. ed., (2018). Narratives in Black British Dance: Embodied Practices. London: Springer. </blockquote> <a href=" ">Visit the Publisher</a>
Book cover: Narratives in Black British Dance

Adesola Akinleye – Editor

Remedies the distinct lack of publication on Dance of the African Diaspora from a post-­colonial British perspective

Includes work from scholars and artists from across the field of dance

Explores the multi-layered, multi-dimensional nature of artists and artistic work from within the spectrums of ‘Blackness’, ‘Britishness’, and ‘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.

An accompanying website was started as an extension of the book. It exists to continue to add narratives through different media such as podcasts, interviews and film: narratives in dance .

“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. Narratives in 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,
Professor Emerita of Dance Studies, Temple University, USA
“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
Emeritus of Journal of Dance Education and Associate Editor of Research in Dance Education
“This informative book is not just for scholarly research, but highlights the importance of artist discovery, journey development, and the understanding and practice of dance-art forms in Britain. Journeys we have witnessed in each other.”
Jackie Guy, MBE, CD
Teacher and Choreographer
“An urgent offering to the expanding field of Dance Studies! Exploring a range of artistic practices from a variety of research perspectives, this volume affirms the deep histories of the embodied arts in Black Britain. These potent essays demonstrate that the moving body makes meaning through experience. A vibrant animation of the narrative turn of dance scholarship, this book is required reading for everyone in dance and cultural studies.”
Thomas F. DeFrantz,
Founding Director of the Collegium for African Diaspora Dance

Further information:

For creating this book Adesola Akinleye was shortlisted for ‘One Dance UK Awards 2018, Dance Writing Award’ 

eBook ISBN
Softcover ISBN
Edition Number
Number of Pages
XXXII, 296
Number of Illustrations
5 b/w illustrations, 12 illustrations in colour

Citation: Akinleye, A. ed., (2018) Narratives in Black British Dance: Embodied Practices. London: Springer.


(editor Adesola Akinleye)

Forewords by Thomas F. DeFrantz and Peter Badejo

Preface: Dancing through this book – Adesola Akinleye

1. Narratives in Black British dance: an introduction – Adesola Akinleye

Part i 

2. “I don’t do Black-Dance, I am a Black dancer” – Namron

3. Dance Britannia: the impact of global shifts on dance in Britain – Christy Adair and Ramsay Burt

4. Negotiating African Diasporic identity in dance: brown bodies creating and existing in the British dance industry – Tia-Monique Uzor

5. Tracing the evolution of Black representation in ballet and the impact on Black British dancers today – Sandie Bourne

6. In-the-between-ness: decolonising and re-inhabiting our dancing – Adesola Akinleye and Helen Kindred

Part ii

7. Trails of Ado: Kokuma’s cultural self-defence – Thea Barnes

8. Moving Tu Balance: an African holistic dance as a vehicle for personal development from a Black British perspective – Sandra Golding

9. ‘Why I am not a fan of the Lion King’: ethically informed approach to the teaching and learning of South African dance forms in Higher Education in the United Kingdom – Sarahleigh Castelyn

10. Performativity of body paintingL symbolic ritual as diasporic identity – Chikukwango Cuxima-Zwa

11. Dancehall: a continuity of spiritual, corporeal practice in Jamaican dance – H. Patten

12. Our Ethiopian connection: embodied Ethiopian culture as a tool in urban-contemporary choreography – Ras Mikey (Michael) Courtney

13. Reflections: snapshots of dancing home, 1985, 2010 and 2012 – Hopal Romans

Part iii

14. Battling under Britannia’s shadow: UK jazz dancing in the 1970s and 1980s – Jane Carr

15. Caribfunk Technique: a new feminist/womanist futuristic technology in Black dance studies in Higher Education – A’Keitha Carey

16. More similarities than differences: searching for new pathways – Beverley Glean and Rosie Lehan

17. Epistemology of the weekend: Youth Dance Theatre – Hopal Romans, Adesola Akinleye, and Michael Joseph

18. Transatlantic voyages: then and now – Anita Gonzalez

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