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

Black Victorians - choreographed by Jeanefer Jean-Charles

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.

Logo for work by Jeanefer Jean-Charles

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-imagining the stories of the Victorian portraits through a range of dance styles – from African & Jazz to street and contemporary dance.

Creative / Production Credits

Artistic Director & Choreographer - Jeanefer Jean-Charles
Set and Costume Designer - Marsha Roddy
Composer - DJ Walde
Anthony Anaxagorou - Poet
Hassan Mahamdallie - Dramaturg
Martha Stylianou - Creative Consultant
Rehearsal Director - Annie-Lunette Deakin-Foster
Rehearsal Assistant - Cherilyn Albert
Victorian Court Dance Specialist - Kerry Fletcher
Stage Manager - Cynthia Franklin
Ellena Owen-Moreno - Design Assistant
Project Administrative Assistant - Cheniece Warner

Creative Dance Artists:

Oluwaseun Olayiwola
Nosiphiwo Samente
Melissa Bravo
Dani Harris-Walter
Duja Sinada

Producer - Alison Holder and Festival.org

Supported by:

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

Thanks to the Autograph Gallery for their kind support with access to the 'Exhibition in a Box' and portraits. Also to Historic Royal Palaces for the financial support for research and development.

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.

4 dancers perform as part of the dance piece Black Victorians - dressed in a stylised version of period costume, one is kneeling and the other 3 are standing in formal positions
Wiltshire Creative 2021: City Encounters photographed by Ash Mills
Dancers perform as part of the dance piece Black Victorians - they are wearing black long-sleeved tops and brightly patterned full skirts and their bodies form a series of fluid curves. They are performing outside, with trees behind them.

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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Two dancers perform as part of the dance piece Black Victorians, each holding one arm up to the sky. There is a Victorian portrait behind them of a black man.
Wiltshire Creative 2021: City Encounters photographed by Ash Mills
Three dancers perform as part of the piece Black Victorians, wearing dark tops and patterned trousers. They are performing outside.

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