Our venues

Blog

The magic of Elroy Josephz – “The more we find out, the more fascinating he becomes.”

31 December 2013 by Dickie

Guest curator Ramsay Burt on the visitor response to our British dance: Black routes exhibition which looks at the experience of Black British dancers including the late, great, Elroy Josephz.

Dance legend Elroy Josephz bare chested dancing on stage

Elroy Josephz. Photo from Elroy Josephz archive coutesy of Sue Lancaster and Steve Mulrooney.

“A friend recently visited the International Slavery Museum and said he liked the way the British dance: Black routes exhibition is placed: ‘After you walk through the main collection, with all its painful associations, it is great’, he said, ‘to end up with something so affirmative’.

“He also liked the section ‘Did the critics get it right?’ because he said it made you think. One of the students, who came to a symposium we held back in October, said something similar. She picked out one of the quotes in particular – I won’t say which – and I had to admit it was from a review I’d written in the early 1980s.

“Looking back now, I don’t think I always got it right. The students all said that the exhibition introduced them to a history that they hadn’t known and no one previously had told them existed. The biggest surprise for them, and for most people it seems, is the information about Elroy Josephz.

Group of several women debating british dance

Speakers at our symposium held at the Museum.

“During the symposium Sue Lancaster and Steve Mulrooney told us about his beginnings as a young Jamaican immigrant who got a small part in one of the last performances by Les Ballets Negres, then went on to work in television and on stage, starting one of the first community dance projects in London before coming up to Liverpool to teach at I M Marsh, becoming the first Black British University lecturer teaching dance.

“While Elroy was teaching there, they told us, he found the time to write a thesis about the policing of the riots in Toxteth. The more we find out about him the more fascinating he becomes. He’s definitely someone whose life and career needs more research.”

Ramsay Burt is Professor of Dance History at De Montfort University and has co-curated this exhibition with Christy Adair, Professor of Dance Studies at York St John University.

A man, Ramsay,  and a woman, Christy, stood in the British dance: Black routes exhibition

Guest curators Ramsay and Christy

British dance: Black routes runs until 23 March 2014 at the International Slavery Museum.  The exhibition explores the experiences of Black British dancers from 1946 to 2005 and highlights their contributions to British dance.

Read more about this exhibition in a recent Guardian article by journalist Sanjoy Roy.

(Comments are closed for this post.)

About our blog

Welcome to the National Museums Liverpool blog! Written by our staff and volunteers, we’ll give you a peek behind the scenes of our museums and galleries.

Subscribe

RSS RSS Feed

Disclaimer

We try to ensure that the information provided on our blog is accurate and that appropriate permissions to use images have been sought. The opinions in each blog are very much those of the individuals writing.