Shapeshifters: Black Girls and the Choreography of Citizenship
The Move Experiment
Chapter 5 considers how performance emerges as a site for supporting Black girls’ individual and collective health, while also acting as a powerful force for Black girls’ political engagement in Detroit. This chapter details several instances of performance in specific public and private spaces in ways that investigate the choreography-improvisation dichotomy ubiquitous in dance and performance theory. The young women’s creative work in two different performance activist projects that originated within the shelter, the Move Experiment and BlackLight, are highlighted here. The author analyzes how the Move Experiment confronts the limits of representing the self through staged performance, while BlackLight takes self-knowledge and care as the starting point from which Black girls engage the Detroit public. Ultimately, the stories in this chapter provide examples of how both performances of self in everyday life and formal performing arts intersect, are mutually definitive, and hold the potential for embodied political interventions.