Audacious Hope: The House That Joan Built—1980s-Twenty-First Century

  • Brenda Dixon Gottschild


With these words, “Chase”—as she is affectionately known at Dance Arts/ Danco—the rehearsal mistress who recycled back to home turf after her stellar sojourn with Ailey, is pointing out the difference between her generation of Danco dancers and the current generation. The reader may recall from chapter 3 that, back in the day, JB had to practically throw her young dancers out of the studio, saying, “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.” This brings us to a consideration of the issues facing Philadanco and its community as they move into the second decade of the new millennium and beyond. To talk about the shifting landscape, I turn to a speech given by President Barack Obama on March 4, 2007, soon after he’d announced his candidacy, given at the Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma, Alabama. Titled “The Joshua Generation,” the speech delineated the “Moses generation” as the pioneers of the civil rights movement who fought for the rest of us to have a Promised Land—people like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., John Lewis, and Rosa Parks. Then he turned to his own generation, the “Joshuas,” for whom things are better, but who must not “forget that better is not good enough.”1 There is still work to be done by and for the Joshua generation, and they must respect and remember that they stand “on the shoulders of giants,”2 not unlike the biblical relationship between Moses — who fought and pointed the way, and Joshua—who would go on to reap the fruits of Moses’s labor and possess the land.


Artistic Director Dance Class White Company Professional Dancer Modern Dance 
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  1. 20.
    For a long overdue history of this massive upheaval that spanned six decades (1915–1975), see Isabel Wilkerson, The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of American Great Migration. New York, NY: Random House, 2010.Google Scholar
  2. 29.
    Peggy and Murray Schwartz, The Dance Claimed Me: A Biography of Pearl Primus. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2011.Google Scholar

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© Brenda Dixon Gottschild 2012

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  • Brenda Dixon Gottschild

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