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Decolonising dance pedagogy? Ruminations on contemporary dance training and teaching in South Africa set against the specters of colonisation and apartheid
Theatre, Dance and Performance Training  (IF),  Pub Date : 2021-07-24, DOI: 10.1080/19443927.2021.1909125


Taking an ethnographic turn, this paper does not offer any definitive contemporary solutions towards decolonising dance teaching and training practices in South African but offers instead, as the title suggests, ruminations on an embodied and personal dance journey that reflects on two distinct pedagogical arenas; the first is a need to re-evaluate and assess the viability of chosen dance training methods (or what we might call technique) and secondly, the cognate teaching practices. Potentially what I journey into proposing is an attempt to create a critical dance pedagogy that does not always look at Western/Northern based models as the only ones viable – often defined as ‘universal training methods’. I go back to Ngûgî wa Thiong’o (1981) and his call to mitigate the effects of the ‘cultural bomb’ and think about what this means for dance training and teaching practices in South Africa (and any contemporary post-colonial context). The paper also looks at my work as the artistic director of the Durban-based FLATFOOT DANCE COMPANY (now 26 years old) as an example of the contested possibility to re-learn (as dancer, choreographer and teacher) and to re-turn to my body, my skeleton, my blood and bones as the primary way of being and knowing the world – a decolonsied territory of meaning and storytelling.