by cultivating platforms for process,
performance,
dialogue and
documentation
an initiative that supports the
diverse work of Black dance artists
process,
performance,
dialogue and
documentation
process,
performance,
dialogue and
documentation
process,
performance,
dialogue and
documentation

Dancing While Black

History

DANCING WHILE BLACK is an artist-led initiative that supports the diverse work of Black dance artists by cultivating platforms for process, performance, dialogue and documentation. We bring the voices of black dance artists from the periphery to the center, providing opportunities to self-determine the languages and lenses that define their work. Since 2012, DWB has gathered folks for more than two dozen public dialogues and performances, and supported the development of 22 Black artists through the DWB Fellowship.

Dancing While Black operates at the intersection of aesthetics and organizing. Central to the work is building partnerships – with presenters, organizers, curators and artists. Over the past five years, Dancing While Black has established ongoing partnerships with BAAD! Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange, NYU’s Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, the Human Rights Project at the Urban Justice Center, PURPOSE Productions, Urban Bush Women, and Junebug Productions.

Our partnerships are rooted in a mutual commitment to equity and serving the needs and visions of artists. In a field that encourages individualism, our work prioritizes community building. We celebrate that there is a momentum building around shifting the dance landscape, and we are committed to help shepherd these efforts. Our commitment to equity requires our solidarity with others who are also doing the work.

Up Next

Stay tuned for upcoming events.

“Dancing While Black means
my Blackness is me, but
not all of me.
– Camille A. Brown

Process

Angela's Pulse Collaborator Ebony Golden and '15-'16 DWB Fellow Sydnie Mosely at DWB Story Circles captured by Whitney Brown
Get a Glimpse of our Freedom Stories

Last month, we gathered at the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics to kick off our Fifth Anniversary Season with Story Circles on Organizing Toward Vision in an Age of Resistance. We were led by DWB founder Paloma McGregor and the incredible Wendi Moore-O'Neal, daughter of John O'Neal, the originator of the Story Circle process we have used at several gatherings.

photo by Peter Born
Reflections from the 2016-17 Dancing While Black Fellows

The Dancing While Black 2016-17 Fellowship brought together seven emerging Black Women choreographers who spent seven months building community through workshops with master teachers, communal dinners and a public discussion at BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange. Get to know the Fellows and their visions for this collaborative journey.

Paloma-open-arms
Dancing While Black Takes A Look Back to Move Forward

This past Sunday, we gathered at BAX | Brooklyn Arts Exchange’s Artist Services Day to reflect on the history of Dancing While Black, share stories of its deepening impact, and vision for its future.

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Reflections from the 2015-16 Dancing While Black Fellows

The 2015-16 Dancing While Black Fellowship brought together eight emerging Black choreographers. They spent six months engaged in a collective developmental process which included workshops with seasoned artists Onye Ozuzu, Jawole Zollar and Ishmael Houston-Jones. We invited the Fellows to reflect on these workshop experiences. Check out what they had to say.

“Dancing While Black is…
an occupational hazard, an unrequested accolade and an immense responsibility.
– Christal Brown

Documentation

Past Events

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Germaul Dancing While Black is...dancing
with a world perspective
without limitation.
The visual and emotional expression of the
black body is immense.
– Germaul Barnes Dancing While Black is...
dancing with a
world perspective
without limitation.
The visual and emotional
expression of the black body
is immense.
Dancing while Black is... – Camille A. Brown Dancing While Black means embracing who you are
and setting your own ideal, creating a safe space for students
to create their ideal, and encouraging them to make a new door
if they do not see one that is opening for them.
Dancing While Black means being critiqued by
some that don't understand or choose not to understand
the concepts, stories, and general importance of my stories.
Intellectual, beautiful, intimate,
aching, revealing, grounding,
sustaining, powerful, soulful,
glorious, piercing, historic,
futuristic, present, and awesome.
Dancing While Black means embracing who you are
and setting your own ideal, creating a safe space for
students to create their ideal, and encouraging them
to make a new door if they do not see one that is
opening for them.
Onye "Dancing while black is...more than what you sign up for.
It frees and it contains. It expands and compacts,
because as you embody it you become responsible for it
in a particular, a peculiar way. Even if you choose NOT to be
responsible to so called blackness….you still had to choose
THAT, you probably had to say it. And then there it is.
– Onye Ozuzu Dancing while black is to wrestle with representation.
Dancing while black is attractive and repulsive.
Dancing while black is probably not any different than
doing anything else while black. Dancing while black is
significant because of where the dancing is happening—
in an environment where the condition,
blackness/darkness of human skin is an object in and
of itself, significant enough to stand on its own.
Dancing while Black defies, celebrates, calls out, & calls forth that which has come before,
that which is happening now,
that which is yet to be.
– Amara Tabor-Smith –
Nia "Dancing while black is to imagine new human relations free from persisting hierarchies (racial, sexual or geo-political). Dancing while Black requires the work of human beings who believe in the practice of freedom. Freedom then becomes not a state from which one yearns but rather in insistent struggle to remake our lives and remake our relations and remake our communities and our future!

I am dancing under that influence everyday since I inhabited my mother’s womb and the dance goes on and on…"
– Nia Love
– James A. Frazier Driving gets me where I'm going, just as dance has done. And, I know people have opinions about the kind of "car" I drive, how I drive it, and whether or not I should be driving it. Sounds a lot like dance to me. For me, dancing while Black is like driving while Black. I am who I am.

Can't be with us in person? Join the Dialogue online.

[PHOTO CREDITS]Header Image: Jaimé Dzandu, photo by Julia Wang | Lisandra Ramos writing on wall from DANCING WHILE BLACK: This Body Knows Freedom by Whitney Browne Photography | Process Photo: Ebony Noelle Golden and Sydnie L. Mosley surrounded by Story Circle participants by Erik Carter | Photo of Paloma McGregor by Erik Carter | [DWB Is Gallery] Photo of folks gathered in circle with person on floor from Dancing While Black: On Fertile Ground at the Ashé Cultural Arts Center in New Orleans, February 2016 by Melisa Cardona | Photo of smiling folks in chairs from DANCING WHILE BLACK: This Body Knows Freedom by Whitney Browne Photography | Photo of dancers in suits: Brother(hood) Dance!, ’15-’16 DWB Fellows Orlando J. Hunter and Ricarrdo Valentine, from DWB: Masculinities Re/born by Charles R Berenguer Jr.

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