i am black (you have to be willing to not know)

with thomas f. defrantz
Saturday, June 1, 2024 | 5:00 PM | FREE
Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre
149 W. Hastings St., Vancouver

The School for the Contemporary Arts is partnering with the Institute of Performance Studies and Dance West Network to present a live performance of the talking dance work i am black (you have to be willing to not know), by thomas f. defrantz, Artistic Director of SLIPPAGE.

i am black addresses the experience of being one-of-few people of color in the context of experimental performance. Too often, well-meaning white people fail to recognize how they are entirely complicit in the disavowals that craft Black rage. They imagine social circumstance as a somehow “natural occurrence” and become satisfied by witnessing Black creativity as difference. The terms of white privilege allow for this detachment, as if we were not all incredibly traumatized by the deeds of racist and greedy ancestors.

The performance will be followed by an artist talkback with the audience.  

During his visit to the SCA, defrantz will also be visiting with students in CA 421: Choreographic Lab, and holding a conversation with emerging dance artists in Vancouver.


thomas f. defrantz is Professor of Dance and Performance Studies at Northwestern University and the author of Dancing Many Drums: Excavations in African American Dance (2002), and Dancing Revelations: Alvin Ailey’s Embodiment of African American Culture (2004), among many other books. As the director of SLIPPAGE: Performance|Culture|Technology, defrantz works to explore emerging technology in live performance applications. He believes in our shared capacity to do better and engage creative spirit for a collective good that is anti-racist, proto-feminist, and queer affirming.

June 01, 2024