Dance   /   Lecture
Culturele Studies KU Leuven & STUK

Symposium Dancing diaspora: Opening up European Contemporary Dance (discourses)

Monday 24 April 2023
14:00 - 18:00
OPEK Kleine Zaal, Vaartkom 4, 3000 Leuven
The symposium is free of charge, but registration is required.
In English

The Symposium is followed by the Research Seminar Dancing diaspora: Rethinking Contemporary Dance discourses on Tuesday April 25th. Organised by the KU Leuven, Ghent University and Antwerp University, the Seminar welcomes (PhD) students and academic researchers as well as artists, dramaturges and practitioners who are engaged with the theme. More info and registration here.


On April 24th, 2023, Cultural Studies (KU Leuven) and STUK House for Dance, Image & Sound host Dancing diaspora: Opening up European Contemporary Dance, a symposium that brings together speakers from different theoretical fields with dance scholars, practitioners and interested audiences to think about dance and diaspora cultures.

Despite its air of neutrality and inclusivity, European contemporary dance has for a long time systematically excluded choreographers of colour and dance styles that originate within culturally diverse communities or has included them through mechanisms of cultural appropriation and exotification. In the last 10 years however, choreographers of colour have increasingly claimed their position in the European field of dance. Building on different cultural experiences and references, these choreographers have introduced new choreographic strategies and have drawn attention to underrepresented aesthetics and forms of (embodied) knowledge.

Within the framework of the Dancing diaspora we will focus on this newly emerging body of works. Using diaspora as a theoretical lens, we will map the aesthetic and discursive strategies used by these choreographers, analyse their potential to critically deconstruct the label European Contemporary Dance, and explore how they contribute to a rethinking of (European) cultural identity.

Speakers: Funmi Adewole (performer, dramaturge and dance researcher), Fabián Barba (choreographer, performer and dance researcher), Cecilia Lisa Eliceche (mother, dancer, choreographer and campesina).

This symposium is a collaboration between STUK and Cultural Studies (KU Leuven) as part of the course Contemporary Dance & Dance Studies.
The course Contemporary Dance & Dance Studies was initiated from the cultural policy plan KU Leuven.
The symposium and seminar are supported by CoDA - Cultures of Dance, the Research Network for Dance Studies funded by the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO), and by the Flemish Government/OJO-Initiatives

This edition of the Symposium is co-financed by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union in the frame of DANCE ON, PASS ON, DREAM ON.

Speakers’ biographies

‘Funmi Adewole is a performer, dramaturge and dance researcher. She relocated from Nigeria to Britain in 1994 where she began a career which included touring with Physical theatre and African dance drama companies whilst working as an arts consultant and voluntarily as a dance advocate. She has an international reputation as a facilitator and speaker. In 2019, she was awarded a life-time achievement award for contributions to Dance of the African Diaspora in the UK by One Dance UK, the UK National Body for Dance. She holds a PhD in Dance Studies and is presently a senior lecturer in Dance at De Montfort University, England. Her research interests include dance as a profession, storytelling as performance and dance of Africa and the diaspora in professional contexts.

Fabián Barba was born in Quito in 1982, where they studied dance and theatre, and worked as a professional performer. Parallel to their artistic formation, Fabián followed classes on Communication and Literature. In 2004 they went to Brussels to join parts. After graduation, they became a founding member of Busy Rocks. They have created two solo performances: A Mary Wigman Dance Evening (2009) and a personal yet collective history (2012). In collaboration with Mark Franko worked on Le marbre tremble (2014) and with Esteban Donoso on slugs’ garden (2014). They also work as a dancer for Zoo/Thomas Hauert.

Due to their ongoing research on the legacy of colonialism and dance history, they have been invited to give seminars and workshops in several European countries, the United States, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador and Argentina. Since 2013 they have been guest faculty at the María Lugones decolonial summer school co-directed by Rolando Vázquez y Walter Mignolo.

In June 2016 Fabián received their master degree in Autonomous Design in KASK (Ghent). They are currently studying a Master in Cultural Studies with a specialisation in gender at the Universidad Andina Simón Bolivar in Quito.

Cecilia Lisa Eliceche is a mother, dancer, choreographer and campesina based between Salvador de Bahia, Brussels and Necochea. They are traversed by more than 500 years of colonialism in Abya Yala and inspired by ancestral times outside of linearity. The territories she walks inhabit her. The culinary arts as well as rituals of death, birth and life sustenance have become central to her work and life. She has worked with Janet Panetta, Etienne Guilloteau, Claire Croize, DD Dorvillier, Eleanor Bauer and has been dancing for more than 10 years with Heather Kravas. Since 2016, they have been sharing life and work with Brazilian artist Leandro Nerefuh and diving in the deep waters of Ayiti ( In 2020, with the guidance of Ruro Caituiro, Cecilia with the company of Leandro gave birth to divine Toya. She’s a co-founding member of Dancing at the Crossroads (As We Walk). Cecilia is a spiritual daughter of Sosyete NaRiVeh and is proud to serve in the board of KOSANBA (the scholarly association for the study of Haitian Vodou). They are thankful to Houngan Jean-Daniel Lafontant, Egbomi Nancy de Souza. Moira Ivana Millan and Dr. Kyrah Malika Daniels for their teachings and friendship.

Mon 24 Apr 2023 14:00 - 18:00


  • Vaartkom 4
  • 3000 Leuven