The Black Trans* Dancing Body

The Black Trans* Dancing Body is my current project that 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. Daniel returns to his 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 he “should have wanted” growing up as a half black little girl in the professional dance world.

Artist Daniel Coleman Chávez states, “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 has been 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 comes 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 crosses dance forms like ballet, modern dance, and salsa, brought together with video work, poetry, and oral history.

The Performances

Friday, March 30 at 8pm

Saturday, March 31 at 8pm

UNC’s Swain Hall 101 E. Cameron Avenue, Chapel Hill, NC. 

Using Format