The Black Trans* Dancing Body began as part of the Process Series at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2017-2018 season).
The initial project was entitled, "Un-Becoming Ailey: Constructing a Creative and Feminist Trans*masculinity" and was the winner of the LGBTQ Performance Commission Project.
The Black Trans* Dancing Body is Performance as Research project that centers blackness as the moving geography through which transness emerges. Taking up Brenda Dixon Gottschild’s “black dancing body,” the project asks what the nature of gendered movement is for the black trans* dancing body. I returned to my dancing body as a performance artist, ten years removed from a sixteen-year childhood dance career in ballet and modern dance. The project is not about Alvin Ailey per se, but rather, marks the releasing of Ailey as a signifier of what I “should have wanted” growing up as a half black little girl in the professional dance world.
When I embarked on this project, I had no real idea of its importance for myself or for others. Curiously, the development of this project has been as much about the private and intimate work required in body, mind, and spirit that is not publicly archived as much as it has been about what will be shared for audiences. The Process Series model was crucial in this way. It is my desire that this piece, in its rigorous reflection, opens space for others to consider what it means for racialized trans* bodies to move in dance and in social space.
The first performance iteration came after six months of initial weight training and a return to movement practice. This performance is a movement study about race and feminist transmasculinity that utilizes echoes of ballet and modern dance, brought together with video work, poetry, and oral history.
Friday, March 30 at 8pm
Saturday, March 31 at 8pm
UNC’s Swain Hall 101 E. Cameron Avenue, Chapel Hill, NC.