Brenda Dixon Gottschild to discuss the role of dance in culture at library conference

Contact: Paige Wasson


For Immediate Release

December 19, 2002

Brenda Dixon Gottschild to discuss the role of dance in culture at library conference

Writer and performer Brenda Dixon Gottschild will present the fourth Arthur Curley Memorial Lecture, entitled "Researching Performance - The Dancing Body as a Measure of Culture." The lecture takes place Sunday, January 26, at 1 p.m., in the Philadelphia Marriott Hotel, Salon E, during the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia.

Brenda Dixon Gottschild describes herself as a cultural historian. She uses performance-specifically, dance-as a measure of society and barometer of culture. Dixon Gottschild has been instrumental in originating and investigating a line of thought that had been ignored in previous performance studies-namely, the Africanist presence in European-based American concert dance.

As the Philadelphia correspondent for
Dance Magazine (since 1985), she writes features and reviews on a range of topics, from the Pennsylvania Ballet to hip hop. Her scholarly articles have appeared in journals such as
American Studies International,
The Drama Review,
Dance Research Journal, and the
Black American Literature Forum.

From 1982 to 1999 Dixon Gottschild was Professor of Dance Studies at Temple University. She has taught performance history, theory, and criticism in a doctoral degree program and supervised numerous dissertations.

Her forthcoming work, The Black Dancing Body: A Geography from Coon to Cool (Palgrave/St. Martin's, Fall, 2003), challenges the concept of race by interrogating the perceptions, images, and assumptions, past and present, that have accumulated around this topic.

Previous books include Waltzing in the Dark: African American Vaudeville and Race Politics in the Swing Era (St. Martin's, 2000), which focuses on the social, racial, and artistic climate for African American performers from the late 1920s through the 1940s. Digging the Africanist Presence in American Performance: Dance and Other Contexts (Greenwood, 1996), is the culmination of interdisciplinary research that began with the question, "What makes Balanchine ballets different from European ballet?"

Awards in the past decade include a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Research Facilitation Grant (1998), a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio (Italy) Fellowship (1995), and a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Writer/Historian Fellowship (1993).

The Arthur Curley Memorial Lecture series is delivered each year at the ALA Midwinter Meeting and honors ALA past president Arthur Curley. Curley served as president of ALA in 1994-1995 and was director of Boston Public Library. The lecture series commemorates his lifelong dedication to the principles of intellectual freedom, public access to information and public advocacy for libraries.

The ALA will welcome more than 10,000 librarians to Philadelphia and its Midwinter Meeting, January 24-29.