“Decolonizing My Colonized Body”


Nora Chipamure, an inspirational speaker and move maker, said in a master class last week that she was working on “decolonizing her colonized body.” This was the first time I heard this voiced so succinctly. In the University we often talk about the complications of the history of modern dance vis a vis contemporary dance (Rudolph Laban and Mary Wigman’s ties with the Third Reich, Ted Shawn’s eugenic beliefs, etc. ) and its relationship with the dance we are performing and creating now. We question how one comes to terms with using Labanotation or revering choreographers that were racists during their their time to continue using their systems or showing their choreography. But when Nora said this one sentence, the complicated is still complicated, but it made me realize that this is the work. All our bodies are colonized. Colonized meaning the political implications that society has placed on us are reflected in our bodies and how our bodies move through the world. In a medium, like dance, where bodies are put on display to showcase meaning, aesthetic, or humanity, it’s important to know where you stand with your ancestors. All our bodies are colonized, let’s start from there.

Photo: https://gibneydance.org/people/nora-chipaumire/