Joan Myers Brown & the Audacious Hope of the Black Ballerina: A Biohistory of American Performance

Cover of Brenda Dixon Gottschild’s Joan Myers Brown & The Audacious Hope of the Black Ballerina: A Biohistory of American Performance.

Gottschild, a performer turned author, scholar, and self-described “cultural worker,” completed research and writing for her book, Joan Myers Brown & the Audacious Hope of the Black Ballerina: A Biohistory of Performance and Race, which was published by U.K. publisher Palgrave Macmillan in January 2012. Brown, who founded the Philadelphia School of Dance Arts in 1960, as well as the Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO) in 1970, grew up in Southwest Philadelphia, where she hoped to become a professional ballerina despite a ballet establishment that would not embrace African-Americans. Gottschild is a 2009 Leeway Foundation Transformation Award winner and the author of works such as Waltzing in the Dark (St. Martin’s Press, 2000) and The Black Dancing Body (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003). As it tells the story of Joan Myers Brown, her new book also tells the previously unwritten 20th-century dance history of black Philadelphia, one that has great potential to reach beyond the region to serve as a national model for other untold cultural stories, just beginning to emerge. “It may be the first time for a black dance community to have a book written about it from the inside out, reaching past the community to the larger world.” Palgrave Macmillan partnered with Dance/USA Philadelphia and other dance agencies to market the book to a range of institutions and organizations.

References

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Promoting cultural exchanges between Ukrainians and the global community, Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble seeks to represent the country’s culture through dance.

On February 21, 2015, the Center launched our new multimedia online publication, A Steady Pulse: Restaging Lucinda Childs, 1963–78, at Danspace Project in New York City.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Wendy Perron is a writer, dancer, choreographer, and editor-at-large of Dance Magazine. Perron is a former member of the Trisha Brown Company.

Grants & Grantees

Lamont B. Steptoe is a poet and a 2006 Pew Fellow.

Grants & Grantees

Known for innovation, creativity, and preservation of African-American traditions in dance, Philadanco has been dancing in the Philadelphia community since 1970.

Grants & Grantees

Piffaro’s Music in New Spain project explored music resulting from Spain’s encounter with indigenous civilizations in Central and South America during its 16th-century imperial expansion.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Lisa Yancey is an organizational development consultant who specializes in development/fundraising planning, strategic organizational planning, and senior project management for nonprofit arts institutions.

Grants & Grantees

Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble presented a home season program featuring Ukrainian costumes and live music by violinist Vasyl Popadiuk.

Grants & Grantees

Joseph Cashore is a puppeteer and a 1996 Pew Fellow.

Grants & Grantees

Caribbean-American dancer-choreographer Tania Isaac (Pew Fellow, 2011) fuses choreography with personal documentary and social commentary.