Implicit Bias in Dance History :

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

Chapters by different artists / artistic -scholars about their own practices, histories and creative process. This book address the idea we must tell our own stories as Black artists. This book explores Black British dance from a number of previously untold perspectives. It brings together the voices of 17 different practitioners identifying with Black, British and dance, including dance-artists, scholars, teachers and choreographers. Although the book deals with the theme of “Black British Dance”, it is not only of relevance to those involved in the dance community as it challenges the proposition that Blackness, Britishness and Dance are monolithic entities. I hope this would offer an international perspective to USA students.

“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 scholarships, performance, choreography and research by a cadre of gifted practitioners. It has a history. It has a present and a presence. It deserves attention.”- Brenda Dixon-Gottschild, Professor Emerita of Dance Studies, Temple University, USA

“An urgent offering to the expanding field of Dance Studies! Exploring a range of artistic practices from a variety of perspectives, this volume affirms the deep histories of the embodied arts in Black Britain.” -Thomas F DeFrantz, Founding Director of the Collegium for African Diaspora Dance

2) Akinleye, Adesola & Rose Payne (2016) Transactional Space: Feedback, critical thinking, and learning dance technique, Journal of Dance Education, Vol.16 Iss: 4, pp.144-148, 10.1080/15290824.2016.1165821

About how we develop cultures of inclusion in our dance classrooms and how we address inherited dance class practices that are not helpful in supporting student to be critical thinkers through their dance.

3) Black Women in Dance: Stepping out of the barriers, Edited by Brookses, P. Serendipity Artists Movement Ltd, pp.

again a range of authors giving a (British) alternative perspective. The chapter I contributed is

–  Akinleye, Adesola (2016) Narrating Spaces chapter in Brookes, 1) Thompson, K. D. (2014). Ring shout, wheel about : the racial politics of music and dance in North American slavery.

Great for understanding the complex relationship between the Black dancing body and what it is to dance in USA.

2) Smith, L. T. (1999). Decolonizing methodologies : research and indigenous peoples. London ; New York, Dunedin, N.Z., New York: Zed Books; University of Otago Press; Distributed in the USA exclusively by St. Martin’s Press.

Classic book about avoiding approach the academic task of ‘education’ through colonial tools.

3) Shea Murphy, J. (2007). The people have never stopped dancing : Native American modern dance histories. Minneapolis, Minn.: University of Minnesota Press ; Bristol : University Presses Marketing [distributor].

Much needed Native American/ First Nations perspective and history.  Black Women in Dance: Stepping out of the barriers, Serendipity Artists Movement Ltd, pp.

4) There is also the forthcoming anthology (re)claiming ballet which will be published by Intelect Book at the beginning of 2021, in which Theresa also has a chapter.

Charmaine Wells:

Joann Kealiinohomoku “An Anthropologist Looks at Ballet as a Form of Ethnic Dance” (on the problematic binary of “dance history” as the history of concert dance as art vs. anthropological dance as “World Dance” & the ways in which dance critics constructed the canon in opposition to dance ethnography via primitivism, Othering, etc.)

Denishawn and Ballet Russes through lens of Orientalism (Priya Srinivasan & Ramsay Burt);

Dunham and Primus through lens of diaspora (Richard Green & Anthea Kraut);

Ted Shawn and Balanchine through gendered nationalism (Jacqueline Shea-Murphy & Brenda Dixon Gottschild);

Eleo Pomare through black aesthetics (Thomas DeFrantz);

Jawole Willa Jo Zollar & Chandralekha through postmodernism  (Ananya Chatterjea)


For ballet this might look like:

Romantic ballet and male gaze (Susan Foster, Deborah Jowitt);

American ballet, nationalism & Africanist presence (Gottschild);

“Contemporary” ballet, race & discourses of virtuosity (Ariel Osterweis); etc.


ALSO—connections between ballet (and concert dance) & popular/social dance—teaching both of these in the same course—break down classist, racist barriers that were erected (i.e. Brenda Dixon Gottschild does this with Balanchine/Lindy-Hop dancer, Priya Srinivasan does this with St. Denis/Nautch dancers)

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