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Black on Black

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Black on Black is a solo dance performance by Zinzi Minott that explores Queerness, Blackness and the body as an archive.

The work interrogates dance as a form of labour and the limits of the body through the exhausting processes of repetition and duration. The 1h solo performance has been created from movement phrases donated to Zinzi by an extended network of Black dancers and artists. “If you could imagine a physical archive of dance”, asked Minott, “what nugget or phrase would you donate?”

In Black on Black, both dance and Blackness are archived physically, passed from body to body to form a physical archive of Black and Queer lineage. Minott uses duration, repetition and exhaustion to show the erasure of the Black dance anthology – and the larger body of Black cultural practice – in histories of dance and art. As her exhaustion builds, the erasure becomes more evident. What if movement, handed on and shared, is the embodied language of Black lives across generations and geolocations? Perhaps the body itself, and a shared physical vocabulary, is the most tangible archive for remembering Black life and histories. Dance’s ephemerality is a tactic of resistance.

As Minott performs her solo, her phrases are altered, eroded by exhaustion, mirroring the ever-changing and always vulnerable existence of the archive. The work makes plain the fallible nature of the body, of the archive, of performance and of Blackness, all subject to forces of erasure.

Minott will perform her solo amidst a multi-screen audio-visual installation consisting of archival footage and other accompanying material from Minott’s personal image collection and footage of Minott with the other collaborating choreographers and dancers. It is also accompanied by a newly commissioned score composed by Gaika.

Black on Black aims to spark a nuanced discussion that attends to the lived and embodied intersections of race, class and gender in the aftermath of British colonialism. This is the first living archive of Black dance.

Article photo:
Zinzi Minott: Black on black. Kuva: Kofi Paintsil.