Black women in dance: then, now, and sideways with Zinzi Minott and Greta Mendez (2019)

Zinzi Minott and Greta Mendez recount their journeys through dance and how they found each other. They reflect on the whitewashing of the contemporary dance sector and recall parts of the Black British dance scene which have been erased or underfunded into oblivion. They speak of the strength needed by Black women, including themselves, to succeed in the dance industry, while contending with burnout and gaslighting. They describe Blackness as a culture not a colour: “I am culture”.

Lack of acknowledgement of Black dance in the UK, and consequently lack of mentors or other Black role-models means it can be difficult to feel supported, to see yourself in the industry and ultimately have the strength to keep going in the face of the racism and gaslighting you are faced with on a daily basis.

This talk was part of Crossing Borders 2019, presented in partnership with Sadler’s Wells, Society for Dance Research & Roehampton University.

Learn more:

Interview with Greta Mendez

Prime Movers: Makers of Modern Dance in America by Joseph H. Mazo