Tendus and Tenancy: Black Dancers and the White Landscape of Dance Education

  • Crystal U. Davis
  • Jesse Phillips-Fein


The chapter looks at dance education through a critical race theory and whiteness theory lens. With experiential counter-narratives, the authors assert Whiteness is the “homeowner” of concert dance and dance education, while Black dancers and forms categorized as “Black dance” are renters of the landscape. Whiteness’ homeownership manifests in naming, defining, categorizing, establishing value, and assessing dancers and forms and is reflected in dance terminology, technique, pedagogy, curriculum, and evaluation. The authors argue that the treatment of dance forms other than ballet and modern, along with biases existing in Laban Movement Analysis, result in an unlevel playing field for Black dancers. They offer recommendations for alternative pedagogical approaches and institutional policies that can interrupt the systemic inequity which results in microaggressions and White privilege.


African dance Assessment Black dance Black dancer(s) Corporeality Culture Curriculum(a) Curricular Dance education Diaspora Microaggressions Neutral Positionality Race Technique Whiteness White privilege Universal Universally Universalized 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Crystal U. Davis
    • 1
  • Jesse Phillips-Fein
    • 2
  1. 1.University of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  2. 2.Brooklyn Friends SchoolBrooklynUSA

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