The dance performance Choreographing Whiteness is a furthering of my investigation of the strategic personal/subjective body as a meaning making medium in the art, literature, media, journalism and politics of today; a strategy used for my final project for my MA-degree in dance at Oslo National Academy of the Arts (Performing the self in the selfie-society, 2017-2019). Choreographing Whiteness debates how aspects of black femininity and womanhood is appropriated in gay and queer performative behavior – highlighted by Western popular culture – as a means for strength and togetherness. This opens up for an investigation of what seems to be a strategic behavioral phenomenon among gay men, manifesting in/from the black woman. By strategically embodying the behavioral, kinesthetic and dansant ways of how black womanhood is portrayed in popular culture, I will amplify – choreograph – my own whiteness, as well as exhibit the privileges of being a young, white, Norwegian, gay man. FThe ambition: being able to suggest / pose a transformation of a biased and cynical stereotype. By using the personal as motor, abstract embodiments of characters from film, music and dance, might communicate something new about the perhaps crystallized stereotypes in a performance that will merge classical ballet, rap, striptease, cabaret, twerking, speech acts and contemporary dance. The project is supported by The Arts Council (NKF Fri scenekunst-prosjekt).                   

Choreographing Whiteness will be manifested through the recording of a rap-EP (Sept. 2020, Oslo Records), the production of a printed journal produced and curated by black female voices in Norway (spring 2021 and an investigation of vocal gesturing as choreography as well as embodiment of speech acts of resistance, rap and song. The performance will be produced at a residency in Hammerfest (Dec. 2020 – Dansearena Nord) in collaboration with rapper and recording artist Myra, songstress and recording artist Kamara, writer Camara Lundestad Joof, choreographer Thomas Talawa Prestø and photographer Tyra Ara Larle Shadé Lartey. I also wish the voices of amongst others writer Amy Black, dancer and writer Grace Tabea Tenga and rapper Lars Vaular to influence the process. The material collected in the process will hopefully resonate in my body, allowing alternative viewpoints with an ambition to challenge and rethink, rather than imitate and copy.

My staged danced actions will be led by an instinctive as well as cultivated bodily praxis. Choreographing Whiteness is rewriting and abstracting the personification of something that is both known and othered. On stage, I will meet Myra, Kamara and Camara in different scenarios that will evoke specific danced actions. In the process I am interested to ask: Can the ballet barre become a strip pole? How will the male peasant pas-de-deux solo from the romantic ballet Giselle look when performed to a live rap-performance? How will the tights-clad ballet dancer perform Cardi B’s Backin It Up-verse? How will I instinctively respond to speech acts of resistance? And will my ways of West-Norwegian swearing work in respens to vocal gesturing and when performing a rap-EP?











Jonas Pedersen Øren 2019 — Oslo