Book Review of
The Black Dancing Body: A Geography from Coon to Cool
by Brenda Dixon Gottschild
in Dance Research Journal, 37.1
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
In her latest book, Gottschild has given herself the task of unpacking race in the concert dance world in terms of the ways in which the black dancing body is perceived and the implications such perceptions have for black and white dancers and choreographers. In particular, she shows how assumptions, distortions, and stereotypes influence definitions of the black dancing body, thus highlighting that the limitations for the black dancing body are cultural creations rather than biological givens. In other words, even if we acknowledge that race is a biologically meaningless social construct, as Gottschild does, it is, nonetheless, an important and influential factor in human relations that should not be ignored. Race relations are a complex web of love and hate, attraction and repulsion in the world at large, as well as the dance world as a microcosm.