Adesola Akinleye’s morning classes will centre joyful movement and authentic engagement as a technique. The material will partly be drawn from Akinleye’s background in ballet and Dance Theatre Harlem, with a Black Joy twist, using 21st Century popular music. It is not necessary to have any prior experience of ballet to join, or to have been told ‘you can do ballet’!*
Using ballet as a space that has been a site of trauma, this class reclaims the dancing body-mind as a site of knowledge, self-expression and love.
Titled Joy, Peace and Love ballet, this week will emphasize the importance of positive self-talk techniques in dance class, expanding the possibility of the moving body and your imagination of what you can be. It is about reclaiming, or claiming, your love for prancing, turning and being fabulous! The class aims to be gender neutral, pro-feminist, anti-racist and queer-affirming – welcome!
“Ballet is many people’s idea of what dance is!! If you talk to people on the street they interchange the word dance with ballet. So people come to dance with an idea about what dance is in terms of ballet. Then they are often drawn to other styles because of that dance style’s difference to ballet – this is the colonisation – that ground zero is ballet and then other forms are in terms of it. So even if people have not physically done ballet there notion of ballet is how they construct the landscape of dance. I am talking about looking at that corner of dance (ballet) and opening the windows and clearing the dust there in order to develop authentic relationships with other dance forms that are not constructed because of not liking or being able to do ballet. To have a healthy relationship with ballet in order to move on from or way from or further into…” Adesola Akinleye
Dr. Adesola Akinleye is a choreographer and artist-scholar. She is an Assistant Professor in the Dance Division at Texas Woman’s University. She is an Affiliate Researcher, MIT, Arts Culture and Technology, and Visiting Artist at Center for Art, Science and Technology at MIT, and a Theatrum Mundi Fellow. She began her career as a dancer with Dance Theatre of Harlem Workshop Ensemble (USA) later working in UK Companies such as Green Candle and Carol Straker Dance Company.
Over the past twenty years she has created dance works ranging from live performance (that is often site-specific and involves a cross-section of the community) to dance films, installations and texts. Her work is characterized by an interest in voicing people’s lived-experiences in Places through creative moving portraiture. A key aspect of her process is the artistry of opening creative practices to everyone from ballerinas to architects to women in low wage employment to performance for young audiences. Her most recent monograph is part of the Society for Dance Research In Conversation series – Dance, Architecture and Engineering: Dance in Dialogue.