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Thomas F. DeFrantz

Performer, writer and Professor of Dance and African American Studies at Duke University.

DeFrantz serves as Chair of the Duke department of African and African American Studies. In the summer of 2015, DeFrantz taught at the Impulsetanz festival in Vienna, and the New Waves festival in Trinidad and Tobago. He acted as the primary consultant for the 2015 National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta, advising on programming, convening an all-day symposium with a national roster of artists and researchers, and conducting artist talks with Savion Glover, Ronald K. Brown.  In the 2015-2016 academic year, he conducted artist workshops and residencies at Columbia College Chicago; Brown University; Washington University in St. Louis; and University of Boulder in Colorado. He created the tap dance repertory work “tell me a secret” for the dance program at Washington University in St. Louis. Working with Andrea Woods Valdez as a prime participant, he convened the symposium Curating for Communities of Color.  Working with Ava Lavonne Vinesett and Dasha Chapman and Mario LaMothe and Moarabi Kakabalo, he convened the five day event Africa in Circum-Atlantic Perspective: Feminist Performance Routes. With Vinesett and Woods-Valdez he staged the Collegium for African Diaspora Dance conference "Dancing the Afrofuture" in February 2016; the event brought 175 researchers together on the Duke campus.  In October, working with niv ACOSTA, he convened and performed in the four-day festival afroFUTUREqu##r in New York City at the JACK space in October. In January, he presented an original creation “i am black: you have to be willing to not know” at the American Realness festival in New York. He acted as a consultant for the Detroit Institute of the Arts show DANCE! American Art 1830-1960 that opened in March, and created fastDANCEpast, a technologically-inflected dance work for the opening of the show at the DIA, and reperformed at the Crystal Bridges Museum November 2016. SLIPPAGE also made reVerse-gesture-reVIEW commissioned by the Nasher Museum in response to the work of Kara Walker, January, 2017. SLIPPAGE performed at the Nasher Museum as a keynote for the large African and African American Studies event, “Global Slaveries and Impossible Freedoms: The Intellectual Legacies of John Hope Franklin.” SLIPPAGE also performed as a keynote for the 10th annual Feminist Theory Workshop at Duke with the 2013 “Theory-ography 4.5-a: we still queer here.” In May, 2016, SLIPPAGE created a new work for the Moogfest.  DeFrantz acted as a consultant for the Smithsonian African American Museum, contributing a voice-over for a permanent installation that opened with the museum in 2016.  He acted as a panelist for the National Endowment of the Arts and the MAP fund. DeFrantz performed in the North Carolina Dance Tour in the fall of 2015, with performances in Raleigh, Greensboro, and Boone. He participated in public conversations about dance and culture at the Studio Museum of Harlem, the Apollo Theater, and the 2016 Dance/NYC conference. He published the essay “Black Dance After Race” in the volume The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Ethnicity (2016) and “Bone-Breaking, Black Social Dance, and Queer Corporeal Orature” in a special issue of the journal The Black Scholar titled “Black Moves: New Research in Black Dance Studies” that he co-edited with Tara Aisha Willis (2016). In 2016 he created a work “...but are we good now?” for the students at Columbia College Chicago.