Chapters

Dancing through Black British ballet: conversations with dancers.

Dancing through Black British ballet: conversations with dancers.

Co-written with Dr Tia-Monique Uzor, this chapter, reflects on conversations with a number of non-white British dancers who have a long standing dance careers in ballet. The chapter maps histories of resilience and resistance in Britain and internationally

Citation: Akinleye, A. & T Uzor (2021) Dancing through Black British ballet: conversations with dancers Akinleye (ed.) (re:)claiming ballet London: Intellect books pp.216-231

Contents for context within book: 

(editor Adesola Akinleye)

Introduction: Regarding claiming ballet / reclaiming ballet

Part One – Histories

Chapter 1: Ballet, from property to Art – Adesola Akinleye

Chapter 2: Should there be a Female ballet canon? Seven Radical Acts of Inclusion – Julia Gleich and Molly Faulkner

Chapter 3: Arabesque en Noir: The Persistent Presence of Black Dancers in the American Ballet World – Joselli Audain Deans 

Chapter 4: Portrayals of Black people from the African Diaspora in western narrative ballets – Sandie Bourne

Part Two – Knowledges  

Chapter 5: The traces of my ballet body – Mary Savva  

Chapter 6: Ballet Beyond Boundaries – Personal History. Brenda Dixson Gottschild  

Chapter 7:“Auftanzen statt Aufgeben” and The Anti Fascist Ballet School -Elizabeth Ward 

Chapter 8: Dancing Across Historically Racist Borders – Kehinde Ishangi 

Part Three – Resiliences  

Chapter 9: Dance Theatre of Harlem’s radicalization of ballet in 1970s & 1980s – Theresa Ruth Howard  

Chapter 10: Personal testimony as social resilience – Theara J. Ward 

Chapter 11: “Can you feel it?”: Pioneering Pedagogies that Challenge Ballet’s Authoritarian Traditions – Jessica Zeller 

Chapter 12: The Ever After of Ballet – Selby Wynn Schwartz 

Chapter 13: Ballethnic Dance Company Builds Community: Urban Nutcracker leads the way – Nena Gilreath

Part four – Consciousnesses 

Chapter 14: The Counterpoint Project – When Life Doesn’t Imitate Art –  Endalyn Taylor

Chapter 15: Ballet’s Binary Genders in a Rainbow-Spectrum World:

A call for progressive pedagogies – Melonie B. Murray  

Chapter 16: Dancing through Black British ballet: Conversations with dancers – Adesola Akinleye and Tia-Monique Uzor 

Chapter 17: Ballet Aesthetics of Trauma, Development, and Functionality – Luc Vanier & Elizabeth Johnson 

About the contributors 

Index 

Posted by Adesola in Chapters

Ballet, from Property to Art

Ballet, from Property to Art

In this chapter, I reflect on ballet using two lenses of property (ballet-as-property) and inheritance (the Manor House of Ballet). I draw on Dr Cheryl Harris’s seminal paper ‘Whiteness as Property’ to explore how ballet could be seen as being treated as the property of a few rather than an art form in its own right. I suggest that being liberated into being ‘an art form’ offers ballet a rich future that avoids the decay of protectionism.

Citation: Akinleye, A.(2021) Ballet, from property to art, in Akinleye (ed.) (re:)claiming ballet London: Intellect books pp.21-35

Contents for context within book: 

(editor Adesola Akinleye)

Introduction: Regarding claiming ballet / reclaiming ballet

Part One – Histories

Chapter 1: Ballet, from property to Art – Adesola Akinleye

Chapter 2: Should there be a Female ballet canon? Seven Radical Acts of Inclusion – Julia Gleich and Molly Faulkner

Chapter 3: Arabesque en Noir: The Persistent Presence of Black Dancers in the American Ballet World – Joselli Audain Deans 

Chapter 4: Portrayals of Black people from the African Diaspora in western narrative ballets – Sandie Bourne

Part Two – Knowledges  

Chapter 5: The traces of my ballet body – Mary Savva  

Chapter 6: Ballet Beyond Boundaries – Personal History. Brenda Dixson Gottschild  

Chapter 7:“Auftanzen statt Aufgeben” and The Anti Fascist Ballet School -Elizabeth Ward 

Chapter 8: Dancing Across Historically Racist Borders – Kehinde Ishangi 

Part Three – Resiliences  

Chapter 9: Dance Theatre of Harlem’s radicalization of ballet in 1970s & 1980s – Theresa Ruth Howard  

Chapter 10: Personal testimony as social resilience – Theara J. Ward 

Chapter 11: “Can you feel it?”: Pioneering Pedagogies that Challenge Ballet’s Authoritarian Traditions – Jessica Zeller 

Chapter 12: The Ever After of Ballet – Selby Wynn Schwartz 

Chapter 13: Ballethnic Dance Company Builds Community: Urban Nutcracker leads the way – Nena Gilreath

Part four – Consciousnesses 

Chapter 14: The Counterpoint Project – When Life Doesn’t Imitate Art –  Endalyn Taylor

Chapter 15: Ballet’s Binary Genders in a Rainbow-Spectrum World:

A call for progressive pedagogies – Melonie B. Murray  

Chapter 16: Dancing through Black British ballet: Conversations with dancers – Adesola Akinleye and Tia-Monique Uzor 

Chapter 17: Ballet Aesthetics of Trauma, Development, and Functionality – Luc Vanier & Elizabeth Johnson 

About the contributors 

Index 

Posted by Adesola in Chapters

Epistemology of the weekend: Youth Dance Theatre

Epistemology of the weekend: Youth Dance Theatre

With Hopal Romans and Michael Joseph, in this chapter we remember our experiences in early Youth Dance Companies in Britain. For many young people dancing was a distraction from the turmoil of being a Black teenager in Britain in 1970s and 1980s. Dance also introduced the exciting new voices that were emerging around us in trans-Atlantic contemporary dance arts. Marginalized from auditioning for performing arts schools by cost and lack of access, as well as the openly racist aesthetic criteria for entry, our dance training comprised intense weekends of technique classes and rehearsals. Many young people from these early youth companies went on to have distinguished careers in dance internationally.

Citation: Akinleye, A., H. Romans and M. Joseph (2018) Epistemology of the weekend: Youth Dance Theatre, in Akinleye (ed.) Narratives in Black British dance: embodied practices. London: Palgrave MacMillian  pp.265-276

Contents for context within book: 

(editor 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

Posted by Adesola in Chapters

In-the-bewteen-ness: Decolonising and re-inhabiting our dancing

In-the-bewteen-ness: Decolonising and re-inhabiting our dancing

In this chapter, written with Helen Kindred, we discuss our need to be alert to polarising Western values creeping into our creative processes in the language we use to discuss, describe and facilitate dance.  The chapter explores our attempts to extract our ‘dancing bodies’ and choreographic processes from the Imperialist language of Western binaries. Despite our creative processes being informed by our multicultural, trans-national life experiences, how we talk about, or describe our work is often limited by the necessity to describe it using Western mainstream terms which we suggest is a continuing legacy of colonization. The chapter discusses ways we have sort to decolonize the environment of our creative exploration.

Citation: Akinleye, A. and H. Kindred (2018). In-the-Between-ness: Decolonising and re-inhabiting our dancing, in Akinleye (ed.) Narratives in Black British dance: embodied practices London: Palgrave MacMillian pp. 65-78.

Contents for context within book: 

(editor 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

Posted by Adesola in Chapters

Narratives in Black British Dance: an introduction

Narratives in Black British Dance: an introduction

In order to introduce the narratives in the chapters that follow across the book, this introductory chapter positions a range of approaches to the terms Black, British, and Dance. The chapter discusses how artists who identify are cross contribute to a dance scene whose complexities and stories are often invisiblized. The chapter discusses contexts for talking about the dancing body, to expose them as having concealed Black, British dance stories in the past. I draw attention to the context of the historical legacy of abuse to the ‘Black body’ and the effects the has on how Black dancers are audience today. I offer a (re)articulation of the physical and cultural mapping of the richness of British dance.

The book as a whole 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.

Citation: Akinleye, A.(2018). Narratives in Black British Dance: an introduction, in Akinleye (ed.) Narratives in Black British Dance: embodied practices. London: Palgrave MacMillian pp. 1- 17 

Contents for context with book: 

(editor 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

Posted by Adesola in Chapters

Narrating Spaces

Narrating Spaces

In this chapter I discuss creativity: creative processes from the perspective of someone who identifies as a Black, Woman, Artist. Immediately I need to point out that I by no means want to suggest that there is some kind of shared creative outcome that all Black Women Artists demonstrate. The nature of creativity seems to be that it is inherently individual in everyone. To assume it was the same across a group of people would be contradictory to the general assumption that creativity involves uniqueness.  Similarly, the notion of ‘Black’ and ‘woman’ are contested labels rather than fixed identities. So, this chapter is about what happens when the spectrums of Blackness, womanhood and creativity are thought about in terms of their relationship with each other. What rhythms emerge when all three are considered at the same time. In this way the chapter is not written only for those who identify as Black women artists, it is written to look at creative processes in general.

From early trailblazers to contemporary ground breakers, Black Women in Dance: Stepping Out of the Barriers, is an exciting publication celebrating and exploring the impact that Black women have made on the international dance ecology. This publication explores topics from the need for institutions and infrastructure to support work from African and African Caribbean artists, and the key role of women within these organisations, to artists’ journeys taken to develop new aesthetics and an individual choreographic voice. The contributors also reflect upon the obstacles they have had to overcome as they have progressed in their careers and some of the challenges they still have to face. Moreover, Black Women in Dance is a celebration of the tenacity, strength and creativity of the authors, their peers and their predecessors.

Citation: Akinleye, A. (2016) Narrating Spaces chapter in Brookes (ed.), Black Women in Dance: Stepping out of the barriers, UK: Serendipity Artists Movement Ltd, pp. 74 – 83

Contents for context within book:

(editor Pawlet Brookes)

Preface – Pawlet Brookes

Tipping The Balance of Power in the Dance World and Beyond – Jawole Willa Jo Zollar

The Contribution of Women in Supporting the Dance of the African Diaspora in Britain – Mercy Nabirye

Reflection, Revolution and Resolution: Black Dance in the UK 2000 to 2016 – Deborah Baddoo

The Talent is There, The Opportunities Are Not – Hilary S. Carty

The Dance of Leadership – Maureen Salmon

Infrastructure – Pam Johnson

Seven Stages of Creating – Catherine Dénécy

Narrating Spaces – Adesola Akinleye

The Grey Area – Jessica Walker

My Duality, My Strength – Sharon Watson

Posted by Adesola in Chapters

Her life in Movement: Reflections on embodiment as a methodology

Her life in Movement: Reflections on embodiment as a methodology

In this chapter, my aim is to share thoughts about the design of research and theoretical frameworks that place the bodily experience – movement – as central. In such a short amount of text I hope to merely start a conversation. There are three major propositions that underpin the direction of this chapter. The first is the rejection of dualist constructs of object and subject to re-place them with the idea of transaction. The second is the suggestion that communication is a partnership between listener and listened. The last is to propose that if we adopt the first two propositions and work from the perspective that we are transactional bodies (not object and Subject) and that meaning making is in the exchange, flow, partnership of interaction (communication), then we can consider inquiry into our ‘lives’ as being in the movement of betweeness – our lives are in movement. Despite a growing interest in the sociology of the body, there has to date been a lack of scholarly work addressing the embodied aspects which form a central part of our understanding and experience of sport and movement cultures. Researching Embodied Sport explores the political, social and cultural significance of embodied approaches to the study of sport, physical activities and dance. It explains how embodied approaches fit with existing theory in studies of sport and movement cultures and makes a compelling case for incorporating an embodied approach into the study of sporting practices and experience.

The book adopts a multi-disciplinary lens, moving beyond the traditional dualism of body and mind, and incorporating the physical with the social and the psychological. It applies key theories that have shaped our thinking about the body and sport, and examines both the personal, subjective experience of sporting activities and those experiences involving engagement and contact with other people, in team sports for example. The book also explores the methodological implications of ‘doing’ embodied research, particularly in terms of qualitative approaches to sports research.

Written by a team of leading international sports researchers, and packed with vivid examples from sporting contexts as diverse as surfing, fell running, korfball and disability sport, Researching Embodied Sport is fascinating reading for any advanced student or researcher working in the sociology of sport, physical cultural studies, physical education, body studies or health studies.

Citation: Akinleye, A. (2015) Her life in Movement: Reflections on embodiment as a methodology chapter in Wellard, Ian (ed.) Researching Embodied Sport: Exploring movement cultures, Routledge, pp.178-196

 

Contents for context within book:

(editor Ian Wellard)

1. Researching embodied sport: an introduction – Ian Wellard 

2. Post-structuralism and embodiment in sport – Håkan Larsson 

3. Bodies in the zone – Kath Woodward 

4. Embodied movements in physical education: 200 years of organising bodies in schools – Suzanne Lundvall and Peter Schantz 

5. The loneliness of the fell runner – Michael Atkinson 

6. Body as aesthetic project – Angela Pickard 

7. Isolated embodiment in the gym – Ian Wellard 

8. Embodied practices in Korfball – Laura Gubby 

9. Basketball, embodiment and the everyday – Jim Cherrington 

10. Surfing friendships and encounters in the field – Georgina Roy 

11. Being Nosey: The body as an effective but flawed tool for research – Christopher R. Matthews 

12. Researching Action Sport with a GoPro™ Camera: An embodied and emotional mobile video tale of the sea, masculinity, and men-who-surf – Clifton Evers  

13. Researching disabled sporting bodies: Reflections from an ‘able’-bodied ethnographer – James Brighton 

14. Her life in movement: reflections on embodiment as a methodology – Adesola Akinleye 

15. An overview and final thoughts – Ian Wellard

Posted by Adesola in Chapters

Play: ‘ideas are statements not of what is or what has been but of acts to be performed’

Play: ‘ideas are statements not of what is or what has been but of acts to be performed’

In this chapter I challenge the perceived divide between doing and thinking, inherited from a Western dualist divide between body and mind. I suggest playful acts of choreography to transgress the separation of physical and mental in the process of creating a theoretical framework for research study. Using what I am calling ‘choreo-thinking’ I offer possibilities of new methodologies for meaning making beyond the static of writing at a desk.

Citation: Akinleye, A. (2019). Play: ‘ideas are statements not of what is or what has been but of acts to be performed’. In J. Bacon, Hilton, R., Kramer, P., and Midgelow, V. (Ed.), Researching (in/as) Motion: A Resource Collection, Artistic Doctorates in Europe: Theatre Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki. 

Posted by Adesola in Chapters