Point Park University Celebrates the Contributions of Dancers of Color During Black History Month Friday, January 10, 2020
“We have a diverse student body here at Point Park with many dance students of color. It is important that all of our students have a better understanding of the history and evolution of black dancers in order to recognize their contribution to dance history and shaping its future.”
The impact of black dancers on the history of American dance is the focus of a series of Black History Month events this February at Point Park University.
Noted dance historian and author Brenda Dixon Gottschild will visit Point Park’s campus to discuss her latest book Joan Myers Brown and the Audacious Hope of the Black Ballerina: A Biohistory of American Performance that profiles Brown, the founder of the Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO) and the Philadelphia School of Dance Arts, and the impact black dancers have had on the dance profession.
“We have a diverse student body here at Point Park with many dance students of color. It is important that all of our students have a better understanding of the history and evolution of black dancers in order to recognize their contribution to dance history and shaping its future,” said Garfield Lemonius, M.F.A., associate professor and chair of dance at Point Park.
Dixon Gottschild charts the influence of the black dancing body on the history of American dance. In her books and other platforms, she has used interviews with black, white and brown dance practitioners, as well as performance analysis and personal recollections of her own life in the world of dance. She has spoken to some of the greatest dancers and choreographers in recent history including Fernando Bujones, Trisha Brown, Garth Fagan, Bill T. Jones, Ralph Lemon, Meredith Monk, Merían Soto, Doug Elkins, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, and many of their esteemed colleagues to shine a spotlight on the rhythms and movement of black dance in America.
Dixon Gottschild will give a lecture followed by a book signing on Friday, February 7 at 7 p.m. at the Pittsburgh Playhouse PNC Theatre at Point Park University. The event is free and open to the public. In addition, she will lecture to the Point Park University community and have a discussion with dance majors. She will also speak with dance students at Pittsburgh’s Creative and Performing Arts School (CAPA).
"It’s such a rejuvenating experience to meet with young dance students and have the opportunity to highlight some of the profound, often ‘invisibilized,’ contributions of black dance historically and to the field today," said Dixon Gottschild.
Point Park’s dance program is frequently ranked on Top 10 lists in both OnStage and Playbill for its B.F.A. dance program and representation on Broadway. Most recently, Point Park graduate Gabrielle Hamilton was featured on the cover of Dance Magazine for her breakout performance in Broadway’s Oklahoma!, which earned her the Chita Rivera Award for dance.