Witness to the League of Blond Hip Hop Dancers
|Title:||Witness to the League of Blond Hip Hop Dancers|
|Publisher:||Alyson Publications, Inc., Boston|
All but one of the 13 stories in this collection are set in a dance studio in New York City, and in each the first-person protagonist, an African-American lesbian, must sort through issues of desire and race in her interaction with the other dancers. In the title novella, Akiba and KT attempt to choreograph a piece together in a bid to be accepted into a new dance company, knowing all the time "they're not going to take both of us... Not two entirely real-life Black women." Here and elsewhere, Allegra offers no easy answers; these black dancers live in a racist society in which West African and African-American music and dance have been co-opted by a white society that would prefer their originators to remain invisible. Two of the storiesA"God Lies in the Details" and "Dance of the Cranes"Aare narrated by adolescent women just coming into their sexual identities with the help of more mature role models, but the other narrators are older. Stubborn, tenacious women who define themselves as butch and work in offices to support their art, they have learned to sniff out racism with something like "a heightened sense of smell," as Akiba puts it. While the similar settings, narrators and themes provide a sense of unity, when the stories are read one after the other their monotony takes a toll. This repetitiousness and the proliferation of dogmatic speeches on race, gender or sexual preference keep the tales from elevating much above the level of consciousness-raising exercises.