In 2018 Gerald Casel led Dancing Around Race, a community engagement residency in the Bay Area that examined issues surrounding racial equity in dance. Using a systems thinking approach, choreographers, educators, writers, funders, and curators were invited to discuss issues that contribute to racial inequity. Some guiding questions for the Dancing Around Race conversations included: What obstacles get in the way of racial equity? What does it look/feel like to have racial equity in dance? What does the future look like? How do we get there? Three public gatherings with guest speakers modeled after the long table discussion were held throughout the year. The project has expanded to include a gathering of over 60 dance educators at the University of Utah, which focused on whiteness in higher education. The group discussed how systemic racism shows up in higher education, and how capitalism, patriarchy, white supremacy, and settler colonialism restrict the possibility of shifting power dynamics.
Casel will be joined by Rebecca Chaleff, Sammay Dizon, Kimani Fowlin, David Herrera, Yayoi Kambara, Kate Mattingly, Raissa Simpson, and Tria Blu Wakpa to hold space for this unique gathering during GUSH, paying particular attention to how systemic racial inequity is playing out during this pandemic. Moderated by Bhumi Patel, we will be asking how and where we go from here as well as sharing thoughts on imagining an alternative future that is equitable and just.
Dancing Around Race was initially supported by HMD’s Bridge Project (Hope Mohr Dance) and included Zulfikar Ali Bhutto with special guests Aruna D’Souza, Barbara Bryan, and Thomas F. DeFrantz.