Decolonize the curricula in scene arts

Gilberto Icle, Editor-in-chief of Brazilian Journal on Presence Studies, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil

The article “Decolonize the curriculum? Possibilities to destabilize performance training”, published in the Brazilian Journal on Presence Studies (v° 8, n° 4), addresses the relationships between arts and university that are controversial in various parts of the world (ROSS, 2000). In this sense, continental Europe assumes very precise characteristics – in general, for example, training in the arts takes place in conservatories and non-university schools. In the Americas, on the other hand, this schooling is largely done within university education (i.e., research and education would be, in theory, more consolidated). However, despite the notion that the arts would have a unique opening that would allow more resistance to the specific norms of the university institution, in both models of university education in the arts, neoliberal and neocolonial pressures do not cease to emerge on the form of local arrangements.

This problem has been developed by the field of curriculum or studies on curriculum (TUCK, 2012) in various areas of knowledge and, specifically, in the field of performing arts. Thus, the training in scene arts is not exempt from the crossings made by neoliberal structures, in whatever country we are. Thus, decolonization of the curriculum would mean thinking beyond such restrains. It would be a question of diagnosing the neoliberal and entrepreneurial mechanisms decisively implicated in the formative practices and, at the same time, also proposing alternatives through creative opportunities given by the arts and their specificities.

The author, in this practical theoretical itinerary, questions what we know about the curriculum in higher education, placing in the forefront the very idea of curriculum and schooloing in dance and performance. Indeed, it proposes a question that is at the heart of the work presented in this edition of the journal: what can a decolonial curriculum do? It thus begins a kind of deconstruction of the current idea of curriculum in the arts.

Professor Janet O’Shea presents this problem in the specific field of dance and performance schooling in the following video.


ROSS, J. Moving lessons: Margaret H’Doubler and the beginning of dance in American education. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2000.

TUCK, E. and YANG, K. W. Decolonization is not a metaphor. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education, and Society, Toronto, University of Toronto, v. 1, n. 1, p. 1 -40, 2012. Available from:

To read the article, access

O’SHEA, J. Decolonizing the Curriculum? Unsettling possibilities for performance training. Rev. Bras. Estud. Presença [online]. 2018, vol.8, n.4, pp.750-762. ISSN 2237-2660. [viewed 11 October 2018]. DOI: 10.1590/2237-266078871. Available from:

External link

Revista Brasileira de Estudos da Presença – RBEP:

About Gilberto Icle

Gilberto Icle

Gilberto Icle

Gilberto Icle holds a PhD in Education from the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul. He is a tenured professor at the Postgraduate Program in Education at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul and at the Postgraduate Program in Performing Arts at the Universidade de Brasília. He is a 1D productivity fellow at CNPq. e-mail:

About Janet O’Shea

Janet O'Shea

Janet O’Shea

Janet O’Shea is the author of At Home in the World: Bharata Natyam on the Global Stage and Risk, Failure, Play: What Dance Reveals about Martial Arts Training. She is a professor of Arts and Cultures/Dances of the World at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Her areas of interest are the history of dance and, more recently, the ethnography of sports, writing and food policies. e-mail:



Como citar este post [ISO 690/2010]:

ICLE, G. Decolonize the curricula in scene arts [online]. SciELO in Perspective: Humanities, 2018 [viewed ]. Available from:


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