Constrained Bodies: Dance, Social Justice, and Choreographic Agency

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The first part of the twenty-first century has been marked by particularly fraught social and racial tensions in the United States, brought to awareness internationally by the Black Lives Matter protest movement that started in 2014 and the vitriol espoused by the 2016 Republican presidential candidate. Randy Martin's work offers paradigms for interrogating the relationships between dance and its sociopolitical contexts that are highly relevant at this historical juncture. Drawing on some of Martin's key concepts, this article explores choreographic agency and creative strategies in dances that respond to issues of social injustice, mass incarceration, and racial disparities in the criminal justice system. Works by Joanna Haigood (Zaccho Dance Theatre), Amie S. Dowling, filmmaker Justin Forbord, and Kyle Abraham (Abraham.In.Motion) focus on narratives of oppression and disenfranchisement yet also inspire resistance and hope.

© 2016, Cambridge University Press. This is an author produced version of a paper published in Dance Research Journal and uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self- archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-57
Number of pages13
JournalDance Research Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2016

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