Palgrave Handbook Black British dance

Adesola Akinleye (lead editor), Sandie Bourne, Julia Cheng Beverly Glean, Louise Katerega, Hopal Romans

Contributors timeline: 

Abstracts are due by November 1st 2023. Selected authors will be notified by November 25th 2023. Completed chapters will due March 26th 2024. (Autumn 2024 authors would respond to feedback and submit final chapters) . Chapters should be between 5,000 – 7,000 words. 

Contact email:

Call to contribute: 

 The (A) Palgrave Handbook of Black British Dance will be a collection of a diverse array of perspectives, and histories that engage with the notion of Black-ness British-ness and dance. As editors, we acknowledge many dancers born in Britain, living in Britain, and born of British colonies have been overlooked in terms of published material about British Dance. This constitutes a lack of resources and documentation of Black-ness, its presence, impact, and contribution, within British dance history and dance practices. The book aims to offer a starting point for those interested in the topic. The Introduction will signpost the reader to other sources as well as provide a comprehensive overview of companies, artists, events, and artworks that compose a foundational overview of Black British dance.

As such the book gathers chapters that center Black-ness in the multi-cultural landscape of British dance. The book aims to fill gaps in narratives of dance histories, dance development, and dance innovation from a British perspective. The book engages with Black-ness as a diasporic identity with chapters about artists that have contributed to the landscape of British arts from a range of backgrounds including immigrants from, and the descendants of those from the Caribbean, the continent of Africa, Africa, and Asia, and British artists living aboard. 

Just as Black Britishness offers a wide scope so too does the notion of dance itself. The book will presents chapters from a selected range of dance forms – ballet, contemporary dance, youth dance, participatory dance, jazz, West African forms, Caribbean forms, and Hip Hop. The editors note that for many artists these dance form classifications do not encapsulate their practice. In a sense, these dance categories are part of the apparatus for the invisibilization of Black artists in Britain. However, the book uses an organizing structure that allows the reader to start with these familiar Euro-centric terms and across each of the sections of the book become exposed to how Black artists have negotiated, recreated, and innovated between the terms.  

As a handbook, the goal of the collection is to offer the reader an insight into the vast range of artists and artworks that could sit under the title of Black British dance. Thus given a grounding across some parts of the field the reader is given a starting place for further discovery and inquiry into the notion of Black-ness, British-ness, and dance; as well as the rich history and artworks that notion can umbrella. As such the book aims to bridge gaps between the limited existing literature on the topic of Black dance from a British perspective. 

We also welcome co-authored works, particularly those in partnership with choreographers, practitioners, pedagogues, scholars and other creative interpretations of the theme.

 Sections will include:

  • The Youth Dancing 

  • Dancing African and Caribbean Identities

  • Claiming dance spaces

  • Innovation in the field of dance and speaking to the 20th and 21st Centuries  

  • Ballet while Black

  • Dance and kinship, dancing bonds  (Hip Hop)

  • Dance and building community (Participatory Dance)

Abstracts are due by November 1st, 2023. Selected authors will be notified by November 25th, 2023. Completed chapters will be due March 26th, 2024. (Autumn 2024 authors would respond to feedback and submit final chapters) . Chapters should be between 5,000 – 7,000 words.