Gottschild, Brenda D. 1942-
Gottschild, Brenda D. 1942-
(Brenda Dixon-Stowell, Brenda Dixon, Brenda Dixon Gottschild)
PERSONAL: Born October 11, 1942, in the United States; daughter of George and Eliza (Hundley) Dixon; married Esty Stowell, January 18, 1971 (divorced, 1987); married Hellmut Gottschild (a choreographer and dancer), July 24, 1991; children: (first marriage) Amel Eliza Stowell Larrieux. Ethnicity: "African lineage." Education: City College of the City University of New York, B.A. (magna cum laude), 1963; New York University, M.A., 1976, Ph.D., 1981.
ADDRESSES: Home and office—Hill House, 201 W. Evergreen Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19118; fax: 215-844-7322. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Mary Anthony Dance Theater, New York, NY, member of company, 1964–66; independent choreographer, teacher, and performer in the United States, Sweden, Finland, and England, 1966–68; Open Theater Ensemble, New York, NY, member of company, performing in New York City and in Europe, 1968–71; actress, 1976–80; Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, professor of cultural studies and performance theory, 1982–99, professor emeritus, 1999–. Collaborator, with Hellmut Gottschild, on Stick It Out, a "duet journey into issues of black-white, male-female, and self-other," performed in Berlin, Germany, 1993, and in Schwerin, Germany, 1995; Frogs, performed in Philadelphia, PA, 1996; and Tongue Smell Color, performed on tour of college campuses and other U.S. venues and in Germany, 2000–05. Visiting scholar or artist in residence at educational institutions, including Lincoln University and Franklin Marshall College, 1989, Prairie View A & M University, 1991, University of Texas at Austin and University of California, Irvine, 1992, Smith College and Kansas State University, 1993, University of Colorado at Boulder, 1996, University of Minnesota—Twin Cities, 2000, and New York University, 2004; toured Germany under the auspices of the U.S. Information Service, U.S. embassy in Bonn, Germany, and America House; consultant to public television stations.
MEMBER: American Studies Association, Dance Critics Association, Congress on Research in Dance, Society for Dance History Scholars, Phi Beta Kappa.
AWARDS, HONORS: Woodrow Wilson fellow, 1980; fellowships and grants from Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, 1986, 1993, 1998; resident fellow in Bel-lagio, Italy, Rockefeller Foundation, 1995; award for outstanding scholarly dance publication, Congress on Research in Dance, 2001, for Waltzing in the Dark: African American Vaudeville and Race Politics in the Swing Era; grant from Philadelphia Dance Advance, 2002; de la Torre Bueno Prize for scholarly excellence in the field of dance, 2004, for The Black Dancing Body: A Geography from Coon to Cool.
(Coauthor) The History of Dance in Art and Education, revised edition, Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1991.
Digging the Africanist Presence in American Performance: Dance and Other Contexts, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1996.
Waltzing in the Dark: African American Vaudeville and Race Politics in the Swing Era, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2000.
The Black Dancing Body: A Geography from Coon to Cool, Palgrave Macmillan (New York, NY), 2003.
Contributor to books, including Black Dance from 1619 to Today, edited by Lynne Fauley Emery, revised edition, Princeton Book Co. (Princeton, NJ), 1988; Black Choreographers Moving: A Dialogue, edited by Julinda Lewis, Expansion Arts Services (Berkeley, CA), 1991; Looking Out: Perspectives on Dance and Criticism in a Multicultural World, edited by David Gere, Lewis Segal, and others, Schirmer Books (New York, NY), 1995; Aesthetics in Perspective, edited by Kathleen Higgins, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1996; Meaning in Motion: New Cultural Studies of Dance, edited by Jane Desmond, Duke University Press (Durham, NC), 1997; and Caribbean Dance from Abakua to Zouk, edited by Susanna Sloat, University Press of Florida (Gainesville, FL), 2002. Philadelphia correspondent, Dance, 1985–. Contributor of articles and reviews to periodicals, including Orator, American Studies International, Drama Review, Dance Research Journal, Black American Literature Forum, and Design for Arts in Education. Senior advising editor, Dance, 2001–.
Also author of works under the names Brenda Dixon and Brenda Dixon-Stowell.
SIDELIGHTS: Brenda D. Gottschild once told CA: "In my professional life I have journeyed from a career as an artist-performer to one as a writer-scholar, from practitioner to observer. Looking back, I realize that it was a development driven by the same passion for the performing arts and my belief in performance as a highly charged, sociopolitical phenomenon. My area of expertise is cultural studies and performance theory, with an emphasis on popular entertainments. I collaborate with my husband, choreographer and dancer Hellmut Gottschild, on creating what we term 'movement theater discourses.' My resume encompasses both the practical and theoretical realms and reflects my background in and commitment to both arenas. To this end, I define myself as an artist-scholar and am fond of describing my scholarly work as 'choreography for the page.'
"Nowadays, my point of departure is to view performance culture—be it concert, street, religious, or otherwise—as a measure of society. My book Digging the Africanist Presence in American Performance: Dance and Other Contexts is the culmination of interdisciplinary research that had been carried out over the previous decade and had begun with the question, 'What makes Balanchine ballets different from European ballets?' This starting point took me on a journey that led to research on the black (dancing) body and its utilization as a cultural commodity, from minstrelsy through present-day performance genres. My next book, Waltzing in the Dark: Black Performance and Race Politics during the Swing Era, deals with the social, racial, and artistic climate for African-American performers working during the swing era-roughly, the late 1920s through the 1940s. The career of Norton and Margot, a ballroom dance team whose work was thwarted by the racial tenets of the era, serves as the barometer of the times and acts as the tour guide on this excursion through the worlds of African-American vaudeville, black and white America during the swing era, European touring circuits, and the eccentricity and specificity of pre-Civil Rights Era racial etiquettes.
"After initially beginning in the fields of dance and theater, my interests and the scope of my work have expanded beyond those boundaries to areas such as cultural studies and American studies. In making the switch from performer to scholar I managed to blur the divisions between these categories and play both ends against an interdisciplinary middle ground. Thus, in presenting my research I use my own dancing body to demonstrate various performative and kinesthetic principles as I attempt to fuse the categories of lecture, performance, and conversation. In addition, I continue to conduct experimental theater workshops and to collaborate on performance with my husband. The theoretical realms that concern me in scholarly research—namely cultural and identity politics and issues of race and power—are paramount to our 'research-to-performance' investigations in these stage productions."
Gottschild added: "My book The Black Dancing Body: A Geography from Coon to Cool can be regarded as the third installment in my ongoing quest to bring to the fore the African American quotient in the American Cultural equation. It is a map of American history as told through the 'topography' of the black dancing body. Chapters are named for body parts or expressive attributes: feet, buttocks, skin, hair/face, and soul/spirit. An introduction preceding these sections wrestles with the question 'What is black dance?'"