Brenda Dixon Gottschild
Leeway Transformation Award
Neighborhood: Chestnut Hill
Discipline: Performance ,Literary Arts
Brenda is a cultural historian, performer, choreographer, and anti-racist cultural worker who uses dance as a way to measure the pulse of society and the barometer of culture. She considers her work social artistry, having dance at the center of her life and practice. Brenda has used her academic background as a professor of dance and culture to create artistic mediums for the community in which racism, gender, and society are questioned and brought to the forefront of discussions. To demonstrate, she uses her own dancing body and audience volunteers as crucial components in her presentations. Brenda’s work has moved increasingly toward airing the dilemmas and celebrating the aspirations of black performers, while also engaging all people in a conversation, a ‘teaching moment,’ on race. Her past publications include “The Black Dancing Body: A Geography from Coon to Cool” (2003), “Waltzing in the Dark: African American Vaudeville and Race Politics in the Swing Era” (2000), and “Digging the Africanist Presence in American Performance: Dance and Other Contexts” (1998). Brenda’s choreographic work is often in collaboration with her husband, dancer/choreographer Hellmut Gottschild, with whom she has created and performed “Stick it Out” (1993), “Frogs” (1996), and “Tongue Smell Color” (2000). They continue to perform “Tongue Smell Color” internationally. As the Philadelphia correspondent for Dance Magazine, she writes features and reviews on a range of topics from the Pennsylvania Ballet to hip-hop. From 1982 to 1999 Brenda was Professor of Dance Studies at Temple University. She is currently collaborating with Joan Myers Brown in writing a book and giving lectures about the legendary Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO), The Philadelphia School of Dance Arts, and the history of the dance community of black Philadelphia, past and present.