Flat Out! Dancing the city at a time of austerity

This paper reflects on and challenges existing paradigms around movement and mobilisation in and with the city. This focus is provoked by a community arts project called ‘Flat Out’, in which the researcher collaborated with the Drum Intercultural Arts Centre and Birmingham Royal Ballet, on a dance project with members of the community in the Lozells and Newtown areas of the city. The paper pushes for more deeply embodied and more highly politicised versions of place ballet and urban vortex, introducing a concept of choreography that comes from dance practice, and working through decolonial and postcolonial theories. A brief auto-ethnography of the author’s Birmingham childhood illustrates that movement repertoires are diverse, historically and spatially conditioned, and, in the case of Birmingham, located within an ongoing ‘decolonial churn’.

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Volume 36 Issue 5

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