Researching Performance

Posted in Uncategorized on April 5, 2017 by bdixongottschild

Trying to be better about posting on this blog, here’s the lecture presentation and discussion at NYU Tisch Dance Dept. that I gave February 2017. Donald Shorter, a truly inspiring person, made the video.

CDSM at IABD Dallas, 2017.

Posted in Uncategorized on January 12, 2017 by bdixongottschild

I’ve disregarded this blog for much too long, having put all my focus on Facebook and the various professional commitments that keep me afloat. That said, here’s where I’ll be at the end of this month. New Year’s Blessings to All, in these troubled times. Axé

fullsizerender

Posted in Uncategorized on June 26, 2016 by bdixongottschild

I haven’t posted anything on this humble site for over a year, which is an indication of how time flies. For anyone interested, please visit both my Facebook pages and just scroll through 2014-15-16, and you’ll see I haven’t been at home twiddling my thumbs! Anyway, here’s an interview with me by dance scholar Lynn Brooks, published in Thinking Dance, an online newsletter. Blessings to All! Arrows-at-Racism-in-Dance-and-Beyond-Brenda-Dixon-Gottschild-

“Racing” in “Place”: Dance Studies & The Academy

Posted in Uncategorized on April 20, 2015 by bdixongottschild

I’ve sadly ignored this blog and am using Facebook for most social media purposes. Please visit me there: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Brenda-Dixon-Gottschild/118530274909216?ref=hl

Meanwhile, here’s the video of a presentation I recently gave at the Franklin Humanities Institute, Duke University (March 25m 2015). I believe the full paper’s up on the FHI website.

When Did the Avant-Garde Become Black?

Posted in Uncategorized on March 29, 2014 by bdixongottschild

These are introductory comments I gave at the Bill (T. Jones) Chat of the same name, March 23 2014, New York Live Arts. Other panelists: Ralph Lemon, Bebe Miller, Dianne McIntyre, Ishmael Houston-Jones, Adrienne Edwards, and Charmaine Warren–hosted of course by Bill T. If anyone wants to quote anything, please feel free, just CREDIT ME ACCORDINGLY:

The question posed for this conversation – namely, when did it become acceptable for a person who defines her/himself as black to also say “I’m avant-garde”—opens up a web of complexities. I believe I know full well what Bill T. is getting at, but bear with me while I trouble the waters a bit and take a wide-angle perspective. He’s addressing the avant-garde as a SCENE; I want to address it as a PRINCIPLE.Yes: at a moment in late-20th century history, certain black dancers could acknowledge belonging to the dominant culture’s DEFINITION of avant-garde, but it behooves us to also acknowledge the avant-garde history embedded in and integral to AFRICANIST traditions, of which many of us may or may not be aware.

I might UPDATE the question to ask when black dancers felt EMPOWERED enough to own up to the Africanist avant-garde in their work: the surrealist, the abstract-expressionist, the minimalist elements that consciously or subconsciously informed how they presented dance to the downtown audience.   I’ll stay with the term, “avant-garde,” but be aware that it’s an OUTSIDER term, in the same sense that Cubism was NOT Picasso’s or Braque’s moniker for a certain style of visual art, but a conceit dreamed up by an art critic.  All this to say that the so-called avant-garde is an ongoing thread in Africanist [i.e. AFRICAN AND AFRICAN AMERICAN] genres of visual art, music, and dance—part of the disjunctive dissonances; the high-affect juxtapositions; the aesthetics of HOT-AND-COOL; the chromatic scales of African American blues and field hollers; the abstract nature of rhythm tap dance; the DOWN grassroots poetry of signifyin’ and the dozens—and, ironically, these are elements that Europeanist cultures appropriated in the service of infusing and injecting new blood, new life, into the dominant culture.  And then, in typical recursive fashion, Europeanist appropriation circled back into counter-appropriation.  In other words, even though INVISIBILIZED, what was characterized as avant-garde is, IN PART, an Africanist thread TEASED OUT AND REPURPOSED to fit the needs of the dominant culture.

 Not to beat my own drum, but I discussed these issues in my first book, [SHOW], Digging the Africanist Presence in American Culture, Dance and Other Contexts, published during the culture wars of the 1990s, particularly in the chapter titled “Barefoot & Hot, Sneakered & Cool: Africanist subtexts in Modern and Postmodern Dance,” and in the previous chapter titled, “Don’t Take Away My Picasso: Cultural Borrowing and the Afro-Euro-American Triangle.” There I cited John Cage’s debt to Southern Black gut-bucket musics in the following passage(s):      [QUOTE FROM DIGGING: pp.30- four penultimate lines through 31, four top lines, & ENDNOTE #10 p.43]

 Thus, it points us back to Bill T.’s question and the fact that it can only be “THE GHOST IN THE MACHINE”—namely , systemic racism—that invisibilized information like this and made it controversial for a black dancer to claim avant-garde status.

 I’ll leave off with an interesting statement by Paloma McGregor, choreographer/researcher in residency at NYU’s Hemispheric Institute:  “Black has always felt connected to the edges in my experience, if the avant-garde operates at the edges. Of course, what we are really talking about is avant [garde] being defined as largely white artistic production that is almost always operating much at the center of this structure—even much of the radical work.   I hope there is some talking about what is meant by avant-garde and who decides who is and isn’t ‘included’ in that group.” (email communication, March 13, 2014)

 

 

Flamenco Festival, March 2014, Philadelphia

Posted in Uncategorized on February 3, 2014 by bdixongottschild

This was posted this morning on the PhiladelphiaFlamencoFestival website. Adelante!

By Way of Introduction. By Brenda Dixon Gottschild, Ph.D.

February 3, 2014

 I am honored to be working with Pasion y Arte as a consultant, blog writer, and post-performance moderator for the Flamenco Festival.  You will hear from me on these pages soon after Rosario Toledo‘s rehearsals begin in February. I’m savoring this and looking forward to it more as a treat than a task!I see my role as the proverbial, anthropological “fly on the wall;” sitting unobtrusively in the corner of the dance studio, taking notes, and registering my reflections/insights during Toledo’s collaborative ventures with three Philadelphia-based dance artists.
This is an assignment that’s almost as fulfilling for me as performance itself; and this is how I am working with artists these days. To witness the process is as nurturing an experience as to witness the final product. It excites and stimulates me to watch work take shape, perhaps because I remember my years (decades ago, but still vivid) as a performance artist in New York City and in Europe–dancing with others, making dances, and as an actor in a collaborative and experimental theater group (the legendary Open Theater, directed by Joseph Chaikin).
The fact that Pasion y Arte commissioned me to write on the Festival says a mouthful about the expanding reach and scope of Flamenco culture. It is wonderful to know that my insights are valued, albeit I am most frequently recognized as a writer on postmodern and Africanist (that is, African and African American) dance cultures. Likewise, the fact that the three collaborators with Rosario Toledo are Korean-American (Eun Jung Choi), African-American (Germaine Ingram), and European-American (Meg Foley) speaks volumes about Pasion y Arte’s commitment to Flamenco as a millennial performance genre, inclusive and progressive.
You’ll hear from me again the week of February 10!  Abrazos, Brenda

 

International Association of Blacks in Dance Annual Conference, 2014

Posted in Uncategorized on January 27, 2014 by bdixongottschild

This year’s conference, in Dallas TX, was hosted by the Dallas Black Dance Theater. With panels, roundtables, workshops, classes, and performances, the IABD event is always a deeply moving convocation–literally and metaphorically.  From the midnight African dance class  and evening concerts to the Sunday morning breakfast featuring liturgical dance by  students from special arts high schools, we came together once again to shore up our forces and reaffirm and celebrate our gorgeous dance heritage. Honored this year were Ann Williams, retiring founder/director of Dallas Black Dance Theater ; choreographer/master teacher Milton Myers; and Virginia Johnson, Artistic Director of the newly configured Dance Theater of Harlem.

Students from the Cleveland School of the Arts before performing Sunday Morning

Students from the Cleveland School of the Arts before performing Sunday Morning

IABD Board members, with Milton Myers and Virginia Johnson, center l. & r.
IABD Board members, with Milton Myers and Virginia Johnson, center l. & r.

 

l. to r.: Judith Palmer, Chair of the board of the  London based Association of Dance of the African Diaspora; yours truly; and Mercy Nabirye, Director of ADAD. Internationals in the house!

l. to r.: Judith Palmer, Chair of the board of the London based Association of Dance of the African Diaspora; yours truly; and Mercy Nabirye, Director of ADAD. Internationals in the house!

l. to r.: the venerable Ann Williams, acknowledged by IABD founder and  Board member Joan Myers Brown; and Denise Saunders Thompson, IABD Chair

l. to r.: the venerable Ann Williams, acknowledged by IABD founder and Board member Joan Myers Brown; and Denise Saunders Thompson, IABD Chair

l.tor. Cleo Parker Robinson, founder/director of  her eponymous Denver-based company; yours truly; and Lula Washington, founder/director of her eponymous company based in Los Angeles

l.tor. Cleo Parker Robinson, founder/director of her eponymous Denver-based company; yours truly; and Lula Washington, founder/director of her eponymous company based in Los Angeles