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Two dancers perform in Black Victorians, a dance history piece by choreographer Jeanefer Jean Charles

Black Victorians

Case Studies

Black Victorians is a dance performance inspired by the discovery of hundreds of portraits of black people in England during the Victorian era. These images were deliberately airbrushed from our society for over 100 years. It is now time for this part of our British history to be told.

The piece is about bringing voice and body to the characters in the portraits through movement, text and music. Audiences will experience five versatile dancers re-imagine the stories of the Victorian characters through a range of dance styles – from African & Jazz to street and contemporary dance.

Creative / Production Credits

Artistic Director and Choreographer: Jeanefer Jean-Charles

Designer: Marsha Roddy

Creative Consultant: Martha Stylianou

Composer: DJ Walde

Poet and Writer: Anthony Anaxagorou

Assistant Production Manager: Viviana Rocha

Theatrical Engineer: Mike Patterson

Producer: Alison Holder

Dancers: Kloé Dean, Cherilyn Albert, Bafana Solomon Matea and Rhys Dennis

Thank you to Pearl Jordan, Máire Clerkin and Vicki Igbokwe for their time and support and thank you to English Touring Theatre for the generosity in providing space.

Jeanefer Jean-Charles & Associates  would like to acknowledge and thank Historic Royal Palaces for their financial support during the first two stages of research and development in 2019.

This piece was inspired by Black Chronicle II, curated by Renée Mussai at the Autograph Gallery, London.

Funding, commissioning and partner credits 

Black Victorians is supported by Historic Royal Palaces and R&D investment through Without Walls Blueprint. With thanks to the St George’s Garrison Church Trust.

Black Victorians is inspired by Black Chronicles – The Missing Chapter, an ongoing archive research programme led by Autograph focused on unearthing nineteenth century photographs of black presences in Britain. Black Victorians is accompanied by a display of the Black Chronicles’ Exhibition In A Box presented in association with Autograph, London.

Black Victorians is supported by Without Walls and commissioned by FESTIVAL.ORG, Hat Fair and Brighton Festival.

Dancer Bafana Solomon performs using a piece of patterned cloth as part of the dance piece Black Victorians
Photographers from Black Victorians at Greenwich & Docklands International Festival 2020; photographer Camilla Greenwell; dancers Bafana Solomon and Cherilyn Albert
Dancer Cherilyn Albert performs using a piece of patterned cloth as part of the dance piece Black Victorians

About Jeanefer Jean-Charles & Associates

Creative Director & Choreographer Jeanefer Jean-Charles is a globally respected artist, specialising in large-scale outdoor performances. Since starting her journey as Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Bullies Ballerinas’ Jazz Dance Company, her work has taken her to over 21 countries. Her unique creative process aims to bring to life the talents, strengths and shared stories of local communities and artists in inspiring and unforgettable ways.

Her career highlights include the role of Mass Movement Coordinator for all four of the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremonies and Roald Dahl’s City of the Unexpected in Cardiff, Artistic Director for The Rugby League World Cup Opening Ceremony (2013) and directed Spirit of Woolwich in Transe Express Cristal Palace show for Greenwich Festival Global Streets event (2019).

Jeanefer Jean-Charles & Associates

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Dancer Kloe Dean performs in front of the altar of an open-air church as part of the dance piece Black Victorians
Photographers from Black Victorians at Greenwich & Docklands International Festival 2020; photographer Camilla Greenwell; dancers Kloe Dean, Cherilyn Albert and Rhys Dennis
Dancers Cherilyn Albert and Rhys Dennis perform in an open-air church as part of the piece Black Victorians

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