Faculty & Staff Profiles

Anita Gonzalez

Chair of Dance and Professor of Theatre & Drama

Anita Gonzalez, interim chair of the Department of Dance and head of Theatre Studies, also leads the Global Theatre and Ethnic Studies minor in SMTD and LS&A. She introduces students to literature and performance histories of diverse cultures and uses studio practice to develop proficiency in creating new work from diverse cultural perspectives.  Her research and publication interests are in the fields of ethnic performance, 19th-century theatre, maritime performance, and the way in which performance reveals histories and identities in the Americas and in transnational contexts.

Dr. Gonzalez’s most recent book is a co-edited anthology with Tommy DeFrantz, Black Performance Theory (Duke University Press, 2014), that theorizes black performance in the new millennium. Her monograph Afro-Mexico: Dancing Between Myth and Reality (University of Texas Press, 2010) is the result of a 2007 post-doctoral research fellowship in “Race, Politics, and Performance” at the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies (University of Texas at Austin). Other publications include articles about intersections between theatre and dance (“Negotiating Theatrics: Dialogues of the Working Man,” The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Theater, 2015), maritime culture (“Megaship Economies and Transnational Maritime Performance,” Theatre Research International, 2014), utopia in Urban Bush Women performance (Modern Drama, 2004), archetypes of African identity in Central America (“Mambo and the Maya,” Dance Research Journal, 2004), and the pedagogy of teaching African American drama (Theatre Topics, 2009).

Gonzalez is also a director and writer who has staged dozens of productions. She views the theatrical practice as a laboratory for artists and audiences to explore new ways of interacting and considering world issues at a personal level. Current writing projects include The Living Lakes, a collaborative dance-theatre performance with Joel Valentin-Martinez about Black/Native/Latino migrations along the Midwestern Great Lakes, the musical Ybor City about Cuban cigar rollers, and the musical Liverpool Trading about Black and Irish cultural exchange. Her directing and choreography has appeared on PBS national television and at Dixon Place, The Workshop Theatre, HereArts, Tribeca Performing Arts Center, Ballet Hispanico, and other venues. She has been awarded a residency at Rockefeller’s Bellagio Center (2003) and has completed three Senior Scholar Fulbright grants. Gonzalez earned her PhD in Theater/Performance Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1997). She is an Executive Board member of the National Theatre Conference, an Associate Member of Stage Directors and Choreographers, and a member of The Dramatists Guild, ATHE, ASTR, and SDHS. Currently, Dr. Gonzalez is a member of the Executive Committee of the University of Michigan Press.

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