Black Achievement Month 2021

Black Achievement Month 2021

Oktober is Black Achievement Month in Nederland, een maand waarin we mensen van kleur en hun bijdrage aan de samenleving vieren. We vroegen een aantal van onze dansers om te reflecteren op het belang van deze viering en over hoe zij zich door de danswereld van vandaag als dansers en kunstenaars bewegen. Gedurende de maand zullen we verschillende inzichten delen die door hen geschreven zijn. Veel plezier bij het lezen!

I approach every day with the goal of not being afraid to showcase all parts of myself that have been deemed unacceptable in predominately white spaces.

Ricardo Hartley III

Ricardo Hartley III

“I believe celebrating the existence of black and brown persons is acknowledging and expressing gratitude for work that has opened many doors and created countless opportunities.

Also, to serve as a reminder that there is still a great deal more to be done to ensure that the same opportunities are given to black and brown bodies, without the base assumptions of race, gender, sexuality, or tokenism.”

“I approach every day with the goal of not being afraid to showcase all parts of myself that have been deemed unacceptable in predominately white spaces.

I believe dancers of color are put into a monolith that prohibits change; imposed narratives that do not acknowledge the fact that black and brown bodies can exist in multiplicity and can be defined without the white gaze.

My work as an African American artist is to break down these narratives that are placed upon myself and others around me, so that we can exist as authentically as possible.” – Ricardo Hartley III, dancer with NDT 2

Ricardo, foto door Tamara Chapman

I don’t see why most all roles can not be interchanged not only racially but also by gender. Why can’t it just come down to a dancer’s quality and gift rather than their skin tone?

Jon Bond

Jon Bond

“I believe it is important in today’s society to acknowledge everyone’s voice and achievements. We must be grateful to those fellow brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, kings and queens, mentors and inspirations who have shown their light and paved the way long before, in order for us to do what we do and be who we are today. We must lift up, applaud and celebrate each individual’s gifts, successes and continue to stand up and make ourselves all seen, heard and known. No one’s light should be dimmed or cast shadow upon.”

Tekst gaat verder onder de foto

Jon in 'From England with Love' (2021) van Hofesh Shechter. Foto: Rahi Rezvani.

“Honestly I’ve either never been black enough to be lumped into the black clique and never asian enough to roll with the Asian groupings. In terms of connecting: to a degree it has at times made me feel like I didn’t belong or that I was different. As a dancer of color I have flown a bit under the radar. When it comes to my physical appearance, my small physique and mixed race has kept me out of being overly classified as anything other than a small, explosive dancer.

It wasn’t until coming to Europe that I felt or noticed how strong type casting and racial bias could be in the concert dance scene. Maybe it has been my fortune of dancing where I have danced and with the individuals that I have been surrounded by to not have this experience so present for me as it has been for so many?

I’m not sure if people are so unaware or if they are just so narrow-minded to need an Asian girl to do a role previously done by an Asian girl or a brown boy to cover a role originated by another brown boy and so on. I don’t see why most all roles can not be interchanged not only racially but also by gender. Why can’t it just come down to a dancer’s quality and gift rather than their skin tone?” – Jon Bond, NDT 1-danser

We must embrace every part of our identity as loudly and proudly as we can, and make space for celebrating black and brown people with the utmost urgency, as that is the only way to combat the violence of centuries – long oppression.

Cassandra Martin

Cassandra Martin

“To see black achievement, love, joy, history, pride, excellence, etc. is to actively combat the centuries of colonial power that have dehumanized and oppressed black and brown people for centuries.

We exist in a society that has prioritized whiteness and been fed the idea that white excellence exists soley, which in turn removes the existence and history of all other cultural groups, diminishing its humanity and importance. To reclaim one’s identity is a radical act of self love, which is why art and culture are vital. But I don’t believe in individualism as the sole tool for enacting change. We must work to cultivate different structures not just from within ourselves, but to put pressure on systems such as the dance world to enact real, non-performative change.”

“When asked to participate in Black Achievement Month and contribute my story at first I felt like I was taking up a spotlight that needed to be on other dancers of colour that had more difficult experiences in the dance world but ultimately came to the conclusion that my experiences as a white passing person of colour can do for others what embracing my identity has done for me.

I am Mexican – which is an identity that I have always felt to be a nuisance in a white dominant industry. As a kid in dance I adjusted my way of talking, how I dressed, and the kind of people I would spend time with in order to be more “white.” My body type was always judged in the dance world because it didn’t fit a very specific euro-centric ideal and was so problematic for me, that I strained to hold my body in a way to make myself look more like my peers, which ended up causing a chronic injury that I still deal with today.

I realized soon enough that I had no way of “becoming” white and the whole institution was designed to make people like me, and more so for darker people, feel like our body, culture, and identity are not worthy of love and respect. So I decided to educate myself on and embrace my identity as a Latina. What followed after was radical self love.”

Cassie samen met Austin Meiteen. Foto: Rahi Rezvani

“I was taken aback by all the ways in which I and others around me were reducing ourselves to reasons for disliking ourselves or being rejected by these systems of oppression that have no interest in us or in changing. We must embrace every part of our identity as loudly and proudly as we can, and make space for celebrating black and brown people with the utmost urgency, as that is the only way to combat the violence of centuries – long oppression.” Cassandra Martin, NDT 2-danser

EDWARD SAID ONCE SAID:

“When political identity is under threat, culture becomes a resistance tool in the face of attempts to obliterate, annihilate and exclude. Resistance is a form of memory in exchange for forgetting. A stateless person would consider writing or art a home to dwell in.”

Meer teksten volgen

We zullen deze pagina in oktober 2021 blijven updaten met meer reflecties geschreven door onze dansers.