Dance and Afro-descendence

Chloé Saintesprit

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Dance and Afro-descendence

Chloé Saintesprit

Chloé Saintesprit’s practice questions the impact of dance on individuals and the position of performers from diverse backgrounds in the contemporary dance scene. For her, the meaning of dance transcends mere performance, and must never shy away from its social and political mission. Chloé explains:

From recreational-level dance classes to professional training centres, the ways dance schools are structured shapes how students learn, grow, and develop their self-esteem. Without implying that all performers of African origin have identical bone and muscle structures, I have often found that we possess anatomical features, beyond skin colour, that impact us when learning to dance. How are the “non-standard” bodies of dancers of Afro-descendence perceived by institutions that, in my view, very much enforce a “standardized” aesthetic? We must ask whether schools run by predominantly white administrators and teachers are properly equipping instructors to teach to all body types.

“How are ‘non-standard’ bodies perceived?”

The main challenge for teachers is to adapt to the full range of body types, to make sure to create a safe mental space where students feels confident enough to grow and develop. This is particularly true in dance, where our “tool of the trade” is the body. In many cases, the quest for the “perfect” body, by teachers and students alike, can be a source of mental and physical tension. Do our institutions perpetuate a vision of a “standard” body? Is there a hierarchy of bodies? A hierarchy of dances? What about diversity in the teaching staff of educational institutions? And does this impact the representation of the diversity of students’ body types?

Chloé Saintesprit is in an empty room. She wearing a black bodysuit with sheer long sleeves and standing on her left hand with her legs in the air to her left and right arm up to the sky. She is looking at the camera with her mouth slightly ajar. There is a large red fabric floating in the air beside her.

Chloé Saintesprit holds a Diploma of College Studies (DEC) in Dance from Collège Montmorency (2016), a BA in Dance (UQAM, 2019), and a graduate diploma in management from HEC Montréal (2022). She is a cultural worker, consultant, and board member for La Sentinelle and Festival FIKA(S). Chloé is deeply involved in the artistic and cultural sector, working to enhance diversity within organizations, governance bodies, and the artistic communities represented on Montreal’s stages.

Photo

Christian Guy

→  Artist Biography (In French)

Dance and Afro-descendence

Dance and Afro-descendence

Chloé Saintesprit

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Chloé Saintesprit’s practice questions the impact of dance on individuals and the position of performers from diverse backgrounds in the contemporary dance scene. For her, the meaning of dance transcends mere performance, and must never shy away from its social and political mission. Chloé explains:

From recreational-level dance classes to professional training centres, the ways dance schools are structured shapes how students learn, grow, and develop their self-esteem. Without implying that all performers of African origin have identical bone and muscle structures, I have often found that we possess anatomical features, beyond skin colour, that impact us when learning to dance. How are the “non-standard” bodies of dancers of Afro-descendence perceived by institutions that, in my view, very much enforce a “standardized” aesthetic? We must ask whether schools run by predominantly white administrators and teachers are properly equipping instructors to teach to all body types.

“How are ‘non-standard’ bodies perceived?”

The main challenge for teachers is to adapt to the full range of body types, to make sure to create a safe mental space where students feels confident enough to grow and develop. This is particularly true in dance, where our “tool of the trade” is the body. In many cases, the quest for the “perfect” body, by teachers and students alike, can be a source of mental and physical tension. Do our institutions perpetuate a vision of a “standard” body? Is there a hierarchy of bodies? A hierarchy of dances? What about diversity in the teaching staff of educational institutions? And does this impact the representation of the diversity of students’ body types?

Chloé Saintesprit is in an empty room. She wearing a black bodysuit with sheer long sleeves and standing on her left hand with her legs in the air to her left and right arm up to the sky. She is looking at the camera with her mouth slightly ajar. There is a large red fabric floating in the air beside her.

Chloé Saintesprit holds a Diploma of College Studies (DEC) in Dance from Collège Montmorency (2016), a BA in Dance (UQAM, 2019), and a graduate diploma in management from HEC Montréal (2022). She is a cultural worker, consultant, and board member for La Sentinelle and Festival FIKA(S). Chloé is deeply involved in the artistic and cultural sector, working to enhance diversity within organizations, governance bodies, and the artistic communities represented on Montreal’s stages.

Chloé Saintesprit’s practice questions the impact of dance on individuals and the position of performers from diverse backgrounds in the contemporary dance scene. For her, the meaning of dance transcends mere performance, and must never shy away from its social and political mission. Chloé explains:

From recreational-level dance classes to professional training centres, the ways dance schools are structured shapes how students learn, grow, and develop their self-esteem. Without implying that all performers of African origin have identical bone and muscle structures, I have often found that we possess anatomical features, beyond skin colour, that impact us when learning to dance. How are the “non-standard” bodies of dancers of Afro-descendence perceived by institutions that, in my view, very much enforce a “standardized” aesthetic? We must ask whether schools run by predominantly white administrators and teachers are properly equipping instructors to teach to all body types.

“How are ‘non-standard’ bodies perceived?”

The main challenge for teachers is to adapt to the full range of body types, to make sure to create a safe mental space where students feels confident enough to grow and develop. This is particularly true in dance, where our “tool of the trade” is the body. In many cases, the quest for the “perfect” body, by teachers and students alike, can be a source of mental and physical tension. Do our institutions perpetuate a vision of a “standard” body? Is there a hierarchy of bodies? A hierarchy of dances? What about diversity in the teaching staff of educational institutions? And does this impact the representation of the diversity of students’ body types?

Chloé Saintesprit is in an empty room. She wearing a black bodysuit with sheer long sleeves and standing on her left hand with her legs in the air to her left and right arm up to the sky. She is looking at the camera with her mouth slightly ajar. There is a large red fabric floating in the air beside her.

Chloé Saintesprit holds a Diploma of College Studies (DEC) in Dance from Collège Montmorency (2016), a BA in Dance (UQAM, 2019), and a graduate diploma in management from HEC Montréal (2022). She is a cultural worker, consultant, and board member for La Sentinelle and Festival FIKA(S). Chloé is deeply involved in the artistic and cultural sector, working to enhance diversity within organizations, governance bodies, and the artistic communities represented on Montreal’s stages.

Photo

Christian Guy

→  Artist Biography (In French)

Ancestors
Memory
Courage
Transmission
All
Ancestors
Disruption
Vulnerability
Curiosity
Expansion
Disruption
Care
Vulnerability
Edge
Curiosity
Care
Courage
Curiosity
Opening
Expansion
Memory
Courage
Curiosity
Kinetic
Expansion
Elusiveness
Ancestors
Invitation
Transmission
All
Disruption
Courage
Opening
Meditation
All
Absence
Elusiveness
Ancestors
Memory
Vulnerability
Care
Vulnerability
Invitation
Corporeal
Meditation
Disruption
Vulnerability
Impulse
Kinetic
Corporeal
Opening
Corporeal
Organic
Transmission
Expansion
Absence
Ancestors
Courage
Organic
All
Elusiveness
Vulnerability
Immersion
Corporeal
All
Disruption
Elusiveness
Ancestors
Edge
Transmission
Disruption
Elusiveness
Care
Corporeal
All
Elusiveness
Impulse
Invitation
Immersion
Meditation
Elusiveness
Curiosity
Corporeal
Transmission
All
Disruption
Memory
Impulse
Curiosity
Expansion
Elusiveness
Opening
Organic
Meditation
All
Elusiveness
Ancestors
Memory
Invitation
Transmission
Elusiveness
Immersion
Expansion
All
Absence
Ancestors
Courage
Immersion
All
Disruption
Invitation
Immersion
Organic
Transmission
Care
Vulnerability
Curiosity
Transmission
All
Memory
Impulse
Immersion
Transmission
All
Care
Edge
Corporeal
Expansion
All
Elusiveness
Memory
Care
Courage
Vulnerability
Ancestors
Vulnerability
Corporeal
Transmission
Expansion
Care
Courage
Invitation
Transmission
Ancestors
Courage
Immersion
Corporeal
Organic
Absence
Disruption
Impulse
Edge
Kinetic
Memory
Elusiveness
Vulnerability
Meditation
Kinetic
Ancestors
Courage
Disruption
Opening
All
Memory
Care
Corporeal
Meditation
Expansion
Absence
Ancestors
Memory
Edge
Expansion
Ancestors
Opening
Invitation
Curiosity
Expansion
Disruption
Ancestors
Invitation
Curiosity
All
Ancestors
Curiosity
Kinetic
Transmission
Expansion
Absence
Elusiveness
Vulnerability
Edge
Meditation
Ancestors
Care
Curiosity
Meditation
All
Absence
Disruption
Opening
Transmission
All
Disruption
Care
Kinetic
Transmission
All
Memory
Curiosity
Kinetic
Corporeal
Meditation
Care
Vulnerability
Edge
Opening
Corporeal
Absence
Memory
Invitation
Transmission
All
Disruption
Elusiveness
Courage
Edge
Expansion
Ancestors
Memory
Care
Courage
Transmission
Absence
Memory
Edge
Curiosity
Immersion
Elusiveness
Impulse
Curiosity
Kinetic
Transmission
Impulse
Opening
Organic
All
Disruption
Care
Opening
Transmission
All
Disruption
Ancestors
Care
Impulse
All
Absence
Memory
Opening
Immersion
Meditation
Disruption
Courage
Impulse
Edge
Organic
Invitation
Curiosity
Immersion
Corporeal
Organic
Ancestors
Vulnerability
Invitation
Organic
Meditation
Ancestors
Care
Invitation
Organic
Meditation
Corporeal
Kinetic
Meditation
Transmission
All