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The Black Dancing Body: A Geography From Coon to Cool 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1403971210
ISBN-10: 1403971218
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"My topic is hot: Race remains dangerous territory, and talking race through the black dancing body is tricky," notes Temple University dance professor Gottschild (Waltzing in the Dark) at the beginning of her exploration of "Africanist presences in performance." Gottschild's exploration of the geography of the black dancing body begins with her own story (as a young dancer in the late 1950s, she recalls, her long-legged, slim-hipped body "got me in trouble" when more "feminine" bodies were in fashion). The author would also audition for Broadway shows, yet knew African-Americans rarely made the cut. This very personal exploration ranges from the question of what black dance is, to the role and perceptions of various body parts, from feet to hair. Along the way, the author interviews 24 leading dancers and choreographers (not all African-American), including Trisha Brown, Bill T. Jones, Shelley Washington and Ralph Lemon, representing a variety of dance eras, idioms and traditions. Anyone interested in dance and in African-American culture will find much to ponder here.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Anyone interested in dance and in African-American culture will find much to ponder here."--Publishers Weekly Annex

"Dixon Gottschild's happiest readers will share her adventurousness, her inclination to listen deeply and learn, and her honesty." --Eva Yaa Asantewaa, Dance Magazine

"For anyone who's ever sat in an audience wondering why the folks onstage look so very unlike the folks outside, this invigorating, argumentative, and highly personable book is a must." --Laura Shapiro, New York Magazine

"With typical generosity, Brenda Dixon Gottschild convenes a discussion of some of the most crucial issues defining black-white relations in contemporary American society. Skillfully weaving her own voice among those of diverse artists, she raises questions about racial stereotypes, expectations, and prejudices as they are experienced by performers and viewers. Because it focuses on the dancing body, situating its cultivation of physicality as part of more general cultural elaborations of corporeality, The Black Dancing Body addresses the experience of race at a profound and vital level. Candidly pursuing the racialized experiences of feet, butts, hair, and skin, Dixon Gottschild gives readers an abundance of perspectives, both historical and cultural, on the physical. She invites readers into a dialogue, marked by honesty, courage, and soul, that is capable of moving our bodies and our spirits."--Susan Foster, author of Reading Dancing: Bodies and Subjects in Contemporary American Dance

"The Black Dancing Body is a fresh and surprising collage of a book. It walks around its subject, looking at it from new angles, carefully knocking down cliches and stereotypes, allowing dancers' voices to be heard. The quietest, truest voice is the author's own, as she meditates on her own body and the associations it calls up from her own dancing past and her life as an African American woman. This book must be read, to understand once again why our culture is such a painful and exhilarating mixture of black and white elements, and why, in the midst of celebrating the mixture, we must never forget the African-American contribution."--Elizabeth Kendall, author of American Daughter: Discovering My Mother



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Product Details

  • Paperback: 332 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; 1st edition (September 16, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1403971218
  • ISBN-13: 978-1403971210
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,386 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

I loved this book! People make think that the title and contents were not significant, but they need to take a closer look. I'm a HBCU alumna who danced for SSU in GA. I can correlated to some of the issues that African-American danacers faced in auditions, appearance, and training. For instance, we had to tuck our bottom in plie' to create the straight line. In the book, a section is dedicate to our butt and it's hilarious. I really enjoyed reading the personal interview of different ethnic professional dancers. Also, there are images of these wonderful dancers in their true form. I can not tell everything! If you appreciate African-American dancers and their visions, get this book. If you loved performing arts, get this book. If you are a dancer and want to preserve a part of your history, GET THIS BOOK!
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This is a very good book about black dancers. It tells about things that you really did not expect to read. My opinion is that not everybody type is the same. This might effect some black bodies but not all.
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