Ethnic and Cultural IV: Decolonizing movement: emerging paradigms & reconstruction

Ethnic and Cultural IV: Decolonizing movement: emerging paradigms & reconstruction

In this video, Michael examines the supposed ‘neutrality’ of a variety of Euro-American body training forms such as ballet, and proposes that movement training itself has been colonized by such inherited forms. He explores and argues for the possibilities of indigenous of movement practices to enable the decolonization of the body.

Decolonizing movement: emerging paradigms & reconstruction, by Michael Greyeyes, associate professor and graduate program director of the MFA in acting at York University and the artistic director of Signal Theatre. 

Michael Greyeyes


Michael Greyeyes (Plains Cree) is an actor, choreographer, director, and educator. Selected directing credits include: A Soldier’s Tale (Signal Theatre), Pimooteewin (Soundstreams Canada), Almighty Voice and his Wife (Native Earth Performing Arts), The River (Nakai Theatre), Seven Seconds (Super 16mm/ ImagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival). In 2010, he founded Signal Theatre as a platform to create trans-disciplinary and intercultural work that seeks to expand the boundaries surrounding contemporary Indigenous performance. Recent work includes the multi-media installation and solo performance, Winter Home, presented by TRIBE, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He is an Associate Professor in the Theatre department at York University.





  1. How are westernized teaching/studio environments built on, and perpetuate in turn, what Michael describes as a dichotomy between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’?
  2. How might learning colonial forms of movement practice—such as ballet—limit and/or expand the physical lexicon of an actor-in-training?
  3. What repercussions can there be for actors-in-training when colonial plays—in other words, texts marked by colonial assumptions and stereotypes of minoritized peoples—are shown and produced in post-secondary settings more often than plays or stories embodying more inclusive or diverse perspectives on culture and ethnicity?
  4. How have your experiences and training developed your own habitual ways of moving? How has your training ‘encutlured’ you? Are there unexamined cultural assumptions—ones that might exclude the experience of certain cultural groups, perhaps your own—built into your training?

 References and Resources


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