A Dance of White Fragility

  • Ellis, S. (Speaker)
  • Royona Mitra (Speaker)
  • Arabella Stanger (Speaker)

    Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


    The central premise of this year’s call for proposals is that ‘as long as there have been bodies, bodies have felt bad’. We examine the construction of white bodies that both wield power and ‘feel bad’ in the UK’s contemporary dance industry. We use Robin DiAngelo’s term white fragility (2011) to help navigate the ways in which the white psyche of ‘feeling bad’ continues to perpetuate white supremacy by merely tending to its own guilt. We discuss how the UK’s contemporary dance industry dances white fragility by using ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusion’ in its efforts to support a multicultural and multiracial dance landscape. We address the phenomenon of whiteness in contemporary dance, and in so doing, excavate the complex relationships between the ways race and racism mark contemporary dance cultures, institutions and aesthetics, the industry’s adoption of neoliberal principles of diversity and inclusion, and wider-public conversations about race, power and privilege in Britain. DiAngelo, Robin. ‘White Fragility’. International Journal of Critical Pedagogy 3, no. 3 (2011): 54–70. <http://libjournal.uncg.edu/ijcp/article/view/249/116>.
    Period4 Sept 2019
    Held atUniversity of Exeter, United Kingdom
    Degree of RecognitionNational