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Brynn Shiovitz


Brynn Shiovitz’s research intersects at the crossroads between critical race studies and tap dance. She is primarily interested in the ability of Africanist performance to put into a narrative context diasporic identity by simultaneously attending to fields of vision, aurality and embodied practice. Her current work asks readers to consider multiple forms of masking at play in 20th century American tap dance performances of the stage, screen and sound cartoon. While her research historicizes tap’s relationship to minstrelsy and other means of masking, her current work in documentary film calls attention to the relevancy of this conversation today. Shiovitz is the sole creator of The Rhythm Project, a series of documentaries that take up questions regarding the relationship between rhythm, race and diaspora, as it exists for contemporary tap dancers living in Los Angeles and New York City.

Her writing on dance can be seen in the journals Dance Chronicle, Women and Performance, Jazz Perspectives and Dance Research; the magazines Dance, Dance Spirit and Dance Teacher; and a forthcoming anthology on African diaspora dance, edited by Thomas DeFrantz.

She has taught movement and theory across the country at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) and Brooklyn College, and is currently on faculty in the Department of Dance at Chapman University. In addition to dance, Shiovitz is a certified Mat Pilates and Hatha yoga instructor.

Shiovitz received her Ph.D. in culture and performance from UCLA. She also holds an M.A. in performance studies from NYU and a B.A. in philosophy and dance from Mills College.

Dance-Related Publications

“Masks in Disguise: Exposing Minstrelsy and Racial Representation within American Tap Dance”
Performances of the Stage, Screen, and Sound Cartoon, 1900-1950. Dissertation. Published online by ProQuest 2016. All Rights Reserved.

“Exchanging ‘Coon’ for Cork: George M. Cohan and Sonic Minstrelsy at the Fin de Siècle”
Essay in Dancing the African Diaspora., Ed. Thomas DeFrantz (Forthcoming, Winter 2016)

Media review of “Jazz Tap Originals: A Collection of Live Performances (1979-2012)”
Jazz Perspectives (Forthcoming, Winter 2016)

Review of “Hermes Pan: The Man Who Danced with Fred Astaire”
Dance Research Journal, 46, pp. 120-123. doi:10.1017/S0149767714000369

Review of “Burnt Cork: Traditions and Legacies of Blackface Minstrelsy”
Dance Research Journal, 45, pp. 131-134. doi:10.1017/S0149767712000411

“Gotta Move: Women in Tap”
Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory, 22:1, 161-163. Summer 2012

“Tapping into Race, Women, and Rhythm”
Dance Chronicle: Studies in Dance and Related Arts, Vol. 34, No. 2; 2011

“An Evening with Fluxus Women”
Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory, Fluxus Vol. 19, Issue 2; Winter 2009

“Competing Smart”
Dance Magazine, Vol. 83, No. 8; Aug. 2009

“Improving Your Improv”
Dance Spirit, Vol. 13, No. 8; Oct. 2009