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Colette Eloi 

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Colette Eloi (ELWAH) is the founder of ELWAH Movement Dance and Research.  Ms. Eloi is also a dean's fellow and doctoral candidate in the Critical Dance Studies program at the University of California at Riverside. In this research and writing program, her focus is on Indigenous African and African Diaspora pre-colonial cosmology, epistemologies, and ontologies in these dance modalities.  Ms. Eloi is also an accomplished and award-winning folkloric artist and choreographer.  Her research and experience as a dancer have revealed African and African Diaspora cultural dance as a multidisciplinary modality that merges topics in humanities and the sciences to produce complex forms of expressions and actions in the world.  Ms. Eloi is a Master Haitian Folkloric Dance Instructor and archivist of Haitian Songs.


Ms. Eloi is honored to have been invited to co-author a chapter for the Article: "Contesting Slavery, Contesting Freedom" in the Anniversary Edition of The History of the African Diaspora for Cambridge 2025, Michael Gomez, General Editor in collaboration with Dr. Yvonne Daniel. This chapter focuses on the Dancing Religions of the African Diaspora from 1600 to the present day.  The chapter also touches on coloniality and the contestation of slavery through dance. Colette’s dissertation research is entitled Dance at FESTAC’77 - The Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture.  Her research combines archival research with oral history interviews from the US contingent of artists who attended FESTAC’77 to write historiography on this mammoth yet under-recognized festival.   Her research is as much about sitting with the elders of the African Diaspora Dance as it is about learning about FESTAC, this significant dance-critical event referred to by Ebony magazine as a “homecoming for black people” after years of slavery. As an artist and academic researcher, Ms. Eloi has conducted fieldwork in multiple places in Africa and the African Diaspora.  Colette’s research and writing are deeply steered by her extensive experience as an African and African Diaspora dance practitioner and performer. This allows her to integrate the rich knowledge from within the archives of information in these genres.  Beyond the African Diaspora, her work considers topics in performance studies, gender studies, and religious studies. Her writing provides new perspectives and insights into the discourses In Dance Studies. 


Colette has taught at Laney Community College, where she served as chair, and has taught Dance 5, Introduction to Dance, which she has done as a Cultural Exchange class through dance for the last four years at UC Riverside.  Colette’s classroom and community research methodology is to create data-generating dance programming through conferences, workshops, choreographies, and community engagement and conversations. She enjoys putting data in the hands and bodies of various community groups to consider and assess what she is examining in her research.  Furthermore, she sees teaching dance as a vehicle to assist her students toward self-actualization, often having them participate in leadership training in her classes.  She has designed and written curricula for multiple dance courses and has organized and led cultural exchange trips outside the US.   She is one of the developers and organizers of the year-long online dance conference entitled Back to the Root:  The Healing and Spiritual Power of the Spine and the Pelvis in African Rooted Dance (BTTR), which was designed as a global African Diaspora community research project bridging the academy to the community.

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