Collection: tD Deepens Conversations around Decolonization
by Gregory King
In 2020, I sought out a way to interrogate the positionality of Black writers and Black dancing bodies in context to America’s tempestuous history of racism, the role of colonization, racial violence, and white institutions and western dance. I taught Criticism and Aesthetics, a workshop hosted by 92nd Street Y, and edited written works from the participants. These writings asked, “What Should be Done?” in relations to decolonization, dance, and dance writing.
Part II is a continuation of the trilogy that emerged from the Criticism and Aesthetics course at 92nd Street Y.
In 2021, L. Graciella Maiolatesi, Dr. C. Kemal Nance, professor of dance and Africana studies at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and I, edited the writing project Decolonizing Dance Writing; International Exchange (DDW). Funded by a grant from Critical Minded, DDW was a year of content offering practical approaches, saying “here’s what can be done!” The purpose was to publish interviews and short expository essays about selected artists whose artistic works resist the tropes of colonization. The series paired five international non-western dance and movement artists with Black writers and writers of color on the thINKingDANCE’s roster, and included virtual, video-based events that opened dialogue around decolonizing dance practices and discourse. These events were available to the public free of charge and the writers responded to each workshop, offering language to each practitioner’s process. The intended audiences were dance practitioners, dance educators, students, researchers, and enthusiasts interested in creating permanent cultural and institutional change and are archived permanently on tD’s website and YouTube channel.
Decoloniality and Ethics
Dismantling Whiteness Through Space and Time
Ancestral Footprints and the Body
Salvaging History Through Decolonization
Importantly, the topic of decolonization is also interrogated by tD writers outside of the DDW project.
Because conversations around decoloniality and decolonization are rapidly shifting and evolving, this work is only part of the dialogue that is meant to inspire conversations and encourage actions. The writings highlight practices, voices, and experiences still marginalized, due to class, gender, sexuality, and education in order to urge a continued intersection of many marginalized identities. They may offer a better understanding of how dance is impacted by the social, institutional, historical, educational, and cultural deficit of certain histories and practices in relation to current academic trends, popularly funded genres and predominantly white spaces. I hope the readers will find value in each piece, finding value in the words they inhale. My desire is for everyone who engages with works around decolonization to continue questioning why we have centered Eurocentric forms, and to strive to connect their prior knowledge to rigorous inquiry and strategic actions.
By Gregory King
January 12, 2022