Synopses & Reviews
This ground-breaking work brings dance into current discussions of the African presence in American culture. Dixon Gottschild argues that the Africanist aesthetic has been invisibilized by the pervasive force of racism. This book provides evidence to correct and balance the record, investigating the Africanist presence as a conditioning factor in shaping American performance, onstage and in everyday life. She examines the Africanist presence in American dance forms particularly in George Balanchine's Americanized style of ballet, (post)modern dance, and blackface minstrelsy. Hip hop culture and rap are related to contemporary performance, showing how a disenfranchised culture affects the culture in power.
[This book] takes on the interesting subject of how the African American culture has made a difference to art in America--what this difference is and how it is manifest. Gottschild's subject is the saturation of America with the African....Gottschild focuses on dance but includes the minstrel stage, jazz, vaudeville, Gangsta Rap, the 19th-century 'Hottentot Venus' (the pejoratively named African woman who was brought to England and displayed as a freak), performance criticism, and Native American powwow. A freewheeling writer, Gottschild often segues into a general discussion of racism and its impact on the performing arts in pointing out the locations of African influence in American performance....[a] welcome addition to a burgeoning literature on African American performance. Recommended for all academic collections.Choice
Dr. Dixon Gottschild's voice is convincing because of her eclectic documentation and it is touching as well because of the human experiences the reader is drawn into within the related responses of her students, her colleagues, herself, and her antagonists. She is always clear about specific objectives, leaving tempting tangents, yet incorporating the thinking of scholars and learned others in multiple disciplines--definitely in a creole mode that is rich, colorful, and not easily discounted.Yvonne Daniel, Associate Professor of Dance Anthropology Smith College and the Five College Dance Consortium
This ground-breaking work brings dance into current discussions of the African presence in American culture.
About the Author
BRENDA DIXON GOTTSCHILD is Professor Emerita of Dance at Temple University.
Table of Contents
Up from Under: The Africanist Presence
First Premises of an Africanist Aesthetic
Don't Take Away My Picasso: Cultural Borrowing and the Afro-Euro-American Triangle
Barefoot and Hot, Sneakered and Cool: Africanist Subtexts in Modern and Postmodern Dance
Stripping the Emperor: George Balanchine and the Americanization of Ballet
Past Imperfect: Performance, Power, and Politics on the Minstrel Stage
Dance and Theater in a Multicultural Context: Who Stole the Soul, Who Takes the "Rap," or Free To Be You and Me?