Steps towards decolonising contact improvisation in the university
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Other TitlesEthical Agility in Dance: Rethinking Technique in British Contemporary Dance
AbstractTo begin the work of anti-oppression and anti-racism is to start from an acknowledgment of positionality and privilege, or oppression. Mine is a privilege of a mobile life lived in many countries as well as the complexity of a multi-lineage family, with traumatic histories of migration and displacement, as well as arrival and settlement. I am of Scottish, English, Portuguese and South Asian descent, and my pronouns are she/her. I am a dancer, teacher, researcher, yoga and somatic practitioner, with degrees from universities in the UK and USA. I have focused my work in somatic practice, contact improvisation, yoga, bodywork and contemporary dance through the lenses of critical pedagogy and ecological justice for over twenty years. I have been interested in how oppressions intersect and how harm is perpetuated across minorities and marginalised populations as well as the planet itself. As a teacher, I also believe that practices such as contact improvisation, provide contexts in which critical, activist and reflective processes of individual and social transformation can occur through the engagement with the form itself. Decolonising the practice of such a form is a logical extension of a critically engaged pedagogy and becomes essential to an ethical anti-racist teaching practice when it is acknowledged how racism permeates every aspect of social, cultural and political life.
CitationAshley T (2023) 'Steps towards decolonising contact improvisation in the university ', in Colin N, Seago C, Stamp K (ed(s).). Ethical Agility in Dance: Rethinking Technique in British Contemporary Dance, UK: Routledge
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