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Gerald Casel – Not About Race Dance

October 21, 2020 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm  |  Virtual Event


During this “talk,” the artists/collaborators and Gerald Casel will share their recent recent choreographic explorations during COVID-19 based on their latest work, Not About Race Dance.

Not About Race Dance is a collaborative, choreographic response to the homoraciality that haunts US American postmodern dance. The work’s title reflects its primary impetus, Neil Greenberg’s Not About AIDS Dance (1994), which discursively refused the project’s central focus to underscore its appeal for public acknowledgment of the lived experiences and losses of the AIDS crisis. Not About Race Dance employs this central paradox to call attention to how whiteness historically formed the structures, experiences, and experiments of postmodern choreographers; whiteness is the “not race” that Not About Race Dance exposes as a durable history and dominant social structure perpetuated through modern and contemporary dance practices.

Not About Race Dance further contests the structural endurance of white postmodernity by disidentifying with the white cube activated by Trisha Brown’s Locus (1975). The dance’s adaptations of Greenberg and Brown’s choreographic devices are intended to raise questions around the racial politics of mimesis, or what Homi Bhabha refers to as “colonial mimicry.” Moving beyond the politics of representation, Not About Race Dance thus poses a common conundrum faced by artists of color whose work is often positioned in opposition to or on the margins of the dominant through a false binary that simultaneously reclaims the sanctity of the center. By deliberately occupying a space that has historically been defined by white artists, this dance asks if and how difference can be made visible through choreographic structures and processes that do not necessarily make space for brown and black bodies.

RSVP by 11 AM on Wednesday, October 21st to receive Zoom link and password.


Gerald Casel is a dance artist, performance maker, cultural activator, and educator. As a queer, immigrant, artist of color, he is proud to be a first-generation college graduate. He serves as the Provost of Porter College and is an Associate Professor of Dance at UC Santa Cruz. Casel is the artistic director of GERALDCASELDANCE. His choreographic research and social practice converge to complicate and provoke questions surrounding colonialism, collective cultural amnesia, whiteness and privilege, and the tensions between the invisible/perceived/obvious structures of power. He and his collaborators imagine alternative futures beyond the one that is being determined by our current economy and social structures of inequity. A graduate of The Juilliard School with an MFA from UW-Milwaukee, Casel received a Bessie award for dancing in the companies of Michael Clark, Stephen Petronio, Zvi Gotheiner, and Stanley Love. His choreography has been presented by Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church, Dance Theater Workshop, The Yard, ODC Theater, YBCA, Dancebase Edinburgh, Kuan Du Arts Festival Taiwan, and has been developed in residencies at The Bogliasco Foundation, The National Center for Choreography-Akron, ODC Theater, and CHIME. Dancing Around Race, a community engagement process that interrogates racial inequity in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond continues to grow under his leadership. Casel’s Not About Race Dance has been awarded a National Dance Project grant, which will be in residence at the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography and will premiere at CounterPulse in 2021 with a forthcoming tour.

The Center for Cultural Studies hosts a weekly Wednesday colloquium featuring work by faculty and visitors. The sessions consist of a 40-45 minute presentation followed by discussion. We gather at noon, with presentations beginning at 12:15 PM. Participants are encouraged to bring their own lunches; the Center provides coffee, tea, and cookies.*

All Center for Cultural Studies events are free and open to the public. Staff assistance is provided by the Humanities Institute.

*2020-2021 colloquia will be held virtually until further notice. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own coffee, tea, and cookies to the session.


October 21, 2020
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm