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Brownbody: Politics on Ice

“Why is the act of a brown body on white ice political?” Duchess Harris, a professor at Macalester College and author of a six-volume examination of race and sports, offers context around Brownbody, a Twin Cities performance ensemble that melds modern dance, theater, and social justice while seeking to “break down cultural barriers in figure skating.” Following a thread from Saartjie Baartman, the South African Khoikhoi woman exhibited in the early 1800s as the “Venus Hottentot,” to 1980s figure skating champion Debi Thomas and onetime Miss America Vanessa William, she contextualizes the groundbreaking work of Deneane Richburg’s Brownbody, which excerpts a new work, Tracing Sacred Steps, as part of a three-day performance showcase with Montreal-based Le Patin Libre.

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