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John Oliver Perpener III
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar
Political and Social Activism in African-American Concert Dance: Eleo Pomare and the Black Arts Movement

I am requesting support for the final research and initial writing of a book on dancer/choreographer Eleo Pomare. The book will be an overview of his career, but it will emphasize the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, when African-American artists were strongly committed to using their art for social change. He was the leading dance artist involved in the movement, and he was associated with playwright Leroi Jones's (Amiri Baraka's) Black Arts Repertory Theater. Pomare redefined the role of black dance artists and challenged existing arts establishments. He also founded the Dancemobile, a summer concert series created for inner-city communities in New York City. His repertoire during the period included controversial works such as "Blues for the Jungle," a scathing indictment of racism in America, and "Narcissus Rising," a study of black masculinity with a homoerotic subtext. The study will expand historical accounts of the art and culture of the period.

Project fields:
Dance History and Criticism

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2011 – 7/31/2011