Thursday, December 27, 2018

Zahava Griss: the sacred work of transforming white culture

A list of the skills Zahava Griss has amassed and roles they have played might fill this entire blog post--gender-transcendent dance artist, erotic ritualist, bodyworker, educator, coach, anti-racist activist and so much more. Recently, Griss contributed a chapter of perceptive writing to a new anthology of essays, Sacred Body Wisdom: Igniting the Flame of Our Divine Humanity, out soon from Flower of Life Press.

Their chapter, “Transforming the Culture of Whiteness in Dance and Sexuality Communities,” outlines ways in which white artists and activists like themselves can approach creative and social justice work--as well as the relationship with their own and others' bodies--with greater openness, awareness, respect and joy.

Sections of the essay deal with issues of white culture within ballet (where authoritarian traditions predispose dancers to follow rules and not speak up for themselves), within sexuality and within the complex challenges of community building across differences. Griss notes, "so many of the body-centered events and communities I have explored are mostly white people, white leadership and white culture." And, by that, Griss means “certain ways of communicating, an aesthetic of what is valued and acceptable, an unspoken way of framing what being a body is, what ‘safety’ is, what spirit is, what having a body means, what success or beauty means that is familiar to a dominant white often unconscious culture that has been created by those who came before us that does not acknowledge or reflect awareness and respect for people of color, who make up the majority of people on this beautiful earth.”

Griss continues, “I wrote this so we could better observe white culture, vision what we want to replace it with, clarify what diversity means to us personally, and take action to create the society we want to live in.”

Sacred Body Wisdom: Igniting the Flame of Our Divine Humanity will become available on on January 21. Learn more about it here. For more on Zahava Griss and their projects, visit


DISCLAIMER: In addition to my work on InfiniteBody, I serve as Senior Curatorial Director of Gibney. The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views, strategies or opinions of Gibney.


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