We are all still learning and growing in our dance practice and cultural education. Inevitably, this leads to discovering new information that we have a duty to our dance community to act on.
In 2013, our troupe was founded as The Dixie Dinahs, taking inspiration from “Dinah” by Fats Waller and the New Orleans hot jazz that we love to dance to. In 2018, we made the decision to remove “Dixie” from our troupe name as part of our commitment to reject celebrating the racism of slavery-era Confederate states in the USA.
Today, we are once again changing our troupe name after learning the etymology of “Dinah” being used as a generic, and often belittling name for enslaved African women in 19th century America. On learning this, we all felt that it would be inappropriate for us to carry on using this name, especially in the context of being an all female / femme troupe performing an African American art form.
We want to apologise for any hurt that has been caused to anyone by our use of these titles. We were ignorant to the connotations, and we are striving to do better.
The Dinahs and The Dixie Dinahs will always be part of our troupe’s history, and we have enjoyed competition success from performing across Europe under these banners. To us, The Dinahs represented friendship, sisterhood, sparkle, creativity and resourcefulness. We will always have these traits, and our new name embodies all these elements.
After months of sharing ideas, researching and deliberating, we are very excited and proud to unveil our new name that will be a new beginning for our troupe.
We are The London Starlings.
Why The London Starlings, we hear you ask? So many reasons! A literal take on “little stars”, as well as being named for the birds that fly in murmurations, performing beautiful group dances in the skies, we feel that our new name evokes classic chorus lines and a sense of coming together. Our troupe has dancers hailing from all over the UK, and the world, and for the time that London is our home we gather together to dance, like starlings travelling from far and wide to create a super flock.
Our new name is a chance for us to take stock of our contribution to our dance community and put new initiatives in motion. In the coming days and weeks we will be sharing our troupe’s values and our commitments to anti-racist action and education. While we are still living with COVID-19 restrictions, we continue to dance together virtually but can’t wait until we can all be together again to move forward with our troupe’s journey.
We want to thank you all so much for the support you have given us over the past 8 years, and we’re really excited to show you more of what The London Starlings have planned.