British dance: Black routes


Detail of image designed by longarm.co.uk | Photography: Eric Richmond

13 Sep 2013 - 23 Mar 2014
Free exhibition, no booking required

This exhibition explored the experiences of Black British dancers from 1946 to 2005 and highlighted their contributions to British dance.

There is a variety of different dance forms practiced in Britain today, such as jazz, contemporary, ballet, hip-hop and African People’s Dance. Some of these have come to Britain along the many different routes taken by the families of today’s Black British citizens, many of whom came from the Caribbean in the late 1940s and 50s.

Some of these dance and music forms travelled along the transatlantic slave trading routes from Africa to the Americas and the Caribbean on their way to Britain. Others have come direct from Africa with recent Commonwealth immigrants.

Although the actual dances are different from one another, they have qualities in common such as multiple rhythms, and high energy presented in a cool way. When Black Britons have suffered from racism, dancing has offered a powerful means for affirming positive ways of being Black.

This exhibition was developed by De Montfort University and York St John University. It has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Find out more about British dance: Black routes.