Charles O. Anderson

Charles O. Anderson, a native of Richmond, Virginia, is the head of the dance program and producing artistic director of the B.F.A. dance company, Dance Repertory Theatre at The University of Texas at Austin as well as artistic director of the critically-acclaimed afro-contemporary dance theatre company, dance theatre X (founded in 2003).  He received his BA from Cornell University and his MFA in Dance from Temple University. As a dancer he has worked with such noted choreographers as Ronald K. Brown, Talley Beatty, Jim Self, Mark Dendy, Sean Curran, Joy Kellman, and Miguel Gutierrez. Upon moving to Philadelphia Anderson became widely recognized as a specialist in contemporary African Diasporic dance. Anderson's choreography has been presented throughout the U.S. as well as internationally. Among his achievements in afro-contemporary choreography and dance theatre, Anderson was selected as one of “The 25 Artists to Watch” by Dance Magazine and is a Pew Fellowship in the Arts recipient. His professional work has been supported by such foundations and organizations as The National Performance Network, The Pew Foundation for Arts and Heritage, The Independence Foundation, The Puffin Foundation, and The Philadelphia Cultural Fund. His latest work, (Re)current Unrest, was recently awarded a New England Foundation for the Arts National Dance Production Grant and will begin touring in fall of 2019. Anderson is deeply committed to arts and education as sites for enacting social justice, his choreographic work set upon undergraduate students has twice been nationally showcased at the Kennedy Center through the American College Dance Festival Association, and he has also been twice recognized for outstanding achievement in experimental dance theatre by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. He approaches choreography as metaphor for kinetic storytelling. The goal of kinetic storytelling is testimony, the declaration of truth integral to the African-American oral and literary tradition, going back to the slave narrative and folk practices. Anderson also serves on the faculty of The American Dance Festival.

Visiting Artist | April 14 - 28, 2019

(Re)current Unrest

Charles O. Anderson came to MANCC for the first time to further the development of (Re)current Unrest, which is an evening-length immersive performance installation ‘ritual’ built upon the sonic foundation of Steve Reich’s three earliest works: “It’s Gonna Rain” (parts 1 and 2), “Come Out,” and “Pendulum.” The piece is an investigation of legacy, authorship, and the history of black art and protest through the lens of the erasure of the Africanist presence inside of Reich’s compositions. Inspired by James Baldwin's “Fire Next Time” and Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “Between the World and Me.” (Re)current Unrest is an open movement letter from the artist, as a member of Generation X, to the millennial generation, saying 'stay woke!'.

Anderson brought a collaborative team of eight dancers and three designers to MANCC, charged with the task of revamping installation elements after the work’s previous in-progress performance in a large warehouse space. In preparation for touring the work to smaller venues, the design team worked to update production elements of lighting, sound, and overall setting of the space, hanging wooden swings from the ceiling, designing projections, and covering the walls and floor with newspaper clippings.

While at MANCC, Anderson had the opportunity to meet with Professor of Communication and Civil Rights scholar Dr. Davis Houck. Anderson and his collaborators shared the opening section of the work with Houck and then discussed the various references and images throughout the piece.

Anderson also visited Special Collections in Strozier Library where he gained access to the Emmett Till archives.

Within the School of Dance, Anderson engaged with students on multiple levels. First, he taught a masterclass as part of Dance-a-Palooza, which is a week-long festival wherein students get to experience classes with instructors in genres that vary from their usual technique classes. Anderson also worked with 10 student “docents” who participated in the rehearsal process and discussions with the company and will continue to act as community liaisons for the work and its content now that the residency has concluded. These students also participated in the work-in-progress showing that Anderson and his collaborators hosted for the School of Dance and local community that included a reflections moment on the part of the cast and audience immediately following the showing.

After presenting the work-in-progress at The Kumble Theater in January 2020, The American Dance Festival (Durham, NC) was scheduled to present the premiere of (Re)Current Unrest in 2020, followed by performances at Dance Place (Washington, D.C.), which have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This residency was funded, in part, by the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project Production Grant and Production Residencies for Dance Grant.

  • Charles Anderson and collaborators in residence for <i>(Re)Current Unrest</i>
  • Charles Anderson and collaborators
  • <i>(Re)Current Unrest</i>
  • <i>(Re)Current Unrest</i>
  • Johnny Chatman and Shanice Mason
  • Anderson leading DTX dancers
  • <i>(Re)Current Unrest</i>
  • <i>(Re)Current Unrest</i>
  • Designers Eliot Fisher, Jon Haas, and Iman Corbani
  • D'Lonte Lawson, Shanice Mason, Gianina Casale, and Brooke Rucker
  • Casale, Lawson, Millie Heckler, and Rucker
  • <i>(Re)Current Unrest</i>
  • FSU student docent Kieron Sargeant and dancers
  • Student docents and DTX dancers
  • Charles Anderson and collaborators in rehearsal.
  • FSU alumnus, Brooke Rucker
  • Charles Anderson and Johnnie Mercer with dancers and FSU student docents
  • FSU docent Melissa Cobblah (center)
  • FSU student docents Maria Angelica Garcia, Kam Chatman, and Aaron Smith
  • Kentoria Earle (center)
  • FSU student docents Imranda Ward (left) and Melissa Cobblah
  • DTX collaborators and student docents in discussion
  • Anderson's class during the School of Dance's Dance-A-Palooza
  • DTX Dancers in conversation with Professor of Communication, Dr. Davis Houck
  • Dr. Houck
  • Student docents and DTX dancers before open showing
  • Open showing of <i>(Re)Current Unrest</i>
  • Open showing of <i>(Re)Current Unrest</i>
  • <i>(Re)Current Unrest</i>
  • <i>(Re)Current Unrest</i>
  • Open showing of <i>(Re)Current Unrest</i>
  • <i>(Re)Current Unrest</i>
  • <i>(Re)Current Unrest</i>
  • Jeremy Arnold
  • Student docents
  • Post-showing discussion
  • Post-showing discussion
  • FSU student docent Kieron Sargeant
Collaborators in Residence: Jeremy Arnold, Gianina Casale, Johnny Chatman, Millie Heckler, D'Lonte Lawson, Shanice Mason, Johnnie Mercer, Brooke Rucker [Performers], Iman Corbani, Eliot Fisher [Designers]

Featured Artist

Faye Driscoll

February 22 - 24
Carolina Performing
Arts, UNC Chapel Hill


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