Black on Black is a solo dance performance by Zinzi Minott that explores queerness, blackness and the body as an archive.
The work interrogates dance as a form of labour and the limits of the body through repetition, duration and exhaustion, both a materials and references to a Black Queer life which Minott returns to frequently. The 1h performance has been created from movement phrases donated to Minott by an extended network of Black dancers and artists. “If you could imagine a physical archive of dance”, asked Minott, “what nugget or phrase would you donate?”
In Black on Black, both dance, Blackness and Queerness are archived physically via a witnessing, passed from body to body to form a physical archive of Black and Queer lineage. How is movement handed on and shared across the African Diaspora? What are the embodied languages of Black lives across generations and geolocations? Perhaps the body itself, and a shared physical vocabulary, is the most tangible archive for remembering Black life and histories. Dance’s ephemerality is a tactic of resistance, and not an archival problem to be solved.
Phrases are altered, eroded by exhaustion, mirroring the ever-changing and always vulnerable existence of the archive and of Black and Queer life. The work makes plain the fallible nature of the body, of the archive, of performance and of Blackness, all subject to forces of erasure and destruction.
Amidst a multi-screen audio-visual installation consisting of archival footage and other accompanying material from Minott’s personal image collection, a newly commissioned score created and curated by Gaika will premiere.
Producer: Zinzi Minott, Luisa Ulyett, Nephertiti Schandorf (2020)
Artist assistant: Paris Cian (2019-2021)
Moving image: Anita Safowaa, Annetta Laufer (2020-2021), Joi Productions
Costume: Calli Roche
Choreography contributors: Greta Mendez, Harold Offeh, Keyon Gaskin, Malik Nashad Sharpe, Onyeka Igwe, Yewande YoYo Odunubi & Rowdy SS
Zinzi Minott’s work focuses on the relationship between dance, bodies and politics. Zinzi explores how dance is perceived through the prisms of race, queer culture, gender and class. She is specifically interested in the place of Black women’s body within the form.
As a dancer and filmmaker, she seeks to complicate the boundaries of dance seeing her live performance, filmic explorations and objects as different, but connected manifestations of dance and body based outcomes and enquiry.
Zinzi is interested in ideas of broken narrative, disturbed lineage, and how the use of the glitch can help us to consider notions of racism one experiences through the span of a Black life. She is specifically interested in telling Caribbean stories and highlighting the histories of those enslaved and the resulting migration of the Windrush Generation.
Commissioned by CONTINUOUS. Supported using public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England and by John Ellerman Foundation.