Dance + Choreography Student Used Dance to Discuss Race


Christine Wyatt, a student in the Department of Dance + Choreography, used VCU’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program to attend the Summer Leadership Institute of the Urban Bush Women dance company last summer and continues to investigate how dance can combat racial inequalities in her daily practices.

Christine Wyatt, a senior who majors in dance and choreography in the School of the Arts, employs the art form to improve dialogue about race and class and how the concepts inform American society and art. Wyatt includes Africanist-influenced movements in her work. She brings attention to the fact that Eurocentric approaches often dominate formal dance education in the U.S., even though dances of Africa and enslaved Africans in the Americas also have shaped the art form in this country.

Wyatt calls this investigative process “decolonizing dance.” In her eyes, dance education in the United States could help bring greater inclusivity to art and society. Decolonizing can be an abstract term that entails “undoing racial and class structures” within dance and society, Wyatt said.

“Decolonizing through dance is about undoing colonization in my daily life,” she said. “Colonization represents the concept of power struggles and dynamics that come up in dance. I found that when you’ve recognized there is an injustice, whether it’s in an entire education system or in a dance class, you have to recognize that it is flawed.”

Read the full article in VCU News.

Image: Christine Wyatt featured in VCU’s 2018 Research Weeks.


April 13, 2018