Written by the DAJ team.
This manifesto has been made to sustain the essential discourses about racism in the dance industry. It comes from a need for us, dance art journal, to support the Black community and call to primarily white-run dance institutions to own their responsibility and make important changes to the way they treat black artists.
The construction of blackness as a separate category from whiteness has been around since the onset of colonialism in the 15th century. Throughout history up until the very present, the treatment Black womxn and men have faced; the inhuman, dispassionate prejudices, violence and microaggressions they continually experience is beyond wrong. Racism presents itself in different guises, its cruelty is undeniably unjustifiable and it is something we all play a part in bringing to an end. Racism is deeply ingrained into our societal structures and collective unconscious, and that is reflected in and perpetuated by the dance industry as well.
We have created this manifesto to express our solidarity with the black community (especially within the arts) and to outline the approach we will take to ensure we are practicing what we’re preaching. Words suffice in some ways, but often they are no substitute for action. Read, donate, sign petitions. Interrogate capitalism. Place your phone to one side and reflect on what else you can be doing. Don’t make it about you.
This manifesto is by no means exhaustive and we will not pretend that there are many other ways that can also be helpful, now and in the future. But we hope it will still prove to be beneficial for us and for others on our journey towards anti-racism and sincere allyship.
1. We are committed to representing a wide range of artists from across the dance community.
2. We will invest time and energy into reaching out and collaborating with different artists.
3. We will always guide ourselves honestly and with integrity.
4. We will take responsibility for educating ourselves and doing research on work when required.
5. We actively encourage dance organisations to be more inclusive and anti-racist.
6. We will call out racism in the dance industry and support those sharing their own experiences.
7. We will continue to support the Black and PoC* community through donations and promoting work on our platform.
* We understand this acronym is a matter of continual debate so will change it when necessary, to ensure we are best representing the many identities that this umbrella term covers.