Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

The Inspirations of Our Remembering

My Dance with Katherine Dunham, Our Dance with the Itch of Disability

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (2022), 16, (1), 93–107.


How do we breathe through the spaces of our remembering? The article engages in a choreographic narrative that follows the author’s initial attempts to perform a dance of his memories. Inspired by dancer and scholar Katherine Dunham, and her own journey of remembering her childhood through the Black feminist tradition of self-writing, the author questions whose stories are exhaled as they attempt to breathe in their pasts. Breathing in her story, breathing in his story, they inhabit a dance through which the lingering absence and the haunting appearances of disability move them to encounter a different telling of their stories. As they embody a movement through (un)certainty and (un)belonging, a dance of loss and desire, disability reveals itself as the breath that sustains the interpretation of their narratives and the itch that moves their dance. Through this research-creation, the article gestures to disability studies as a necessary orientation in the critical and creative performance of a relationship to stories of the present, past, and future.

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Author details

Esteban, Jose Miguel