Charles O. Anderson is artistic director of Charles O. Anderson/dance theatre X, an afro-contemporary dance theatre company, which he founded in Philadelphia in 2003. Born and raised in Richmond, VA, Charles earned his BA in Choreography and Performance from Cornell University and his MFA in Dance from Temple University. He has performed in the companies of Ronald K. Brown, Sean Curran, Mark Dendy and Miguel Gutierrez among others. His work has been presented nationally and internationally and has earned recognition by numerous grants and organizations such as the Pew Fellowship in the Arts, one of “25 to Watch” by Dance Magazine, and one of ‘12 Rising Stars in the Academy” by Diverse: Issues In Higher Education Magazine. Anderson is currently based in Austin, Texas where he is Head of the Dance Program and an associate professor of African Diaspora Dance Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. Anderson also serves on faculty of the American Dance Festival six week school in Durham, NC.
IN MY OWN WORDS
I am an artist, an activist-educator and an intellectual- I am a kinetic storyteller. I am moved to create dance theatre that bear witness to human experiences through the cultural lenses of the African Diaspora (yes-there are many cultures that comprise the Diaspora!). I am committed to working with traditional and contemporary boundaries of African derived movement. At the same time I am committed to subverting, confronting, and challenging deeply entrenched, two-dimensional public perceptions of work for the stage that stands on African and African American aesthetics. My goal is to create work that gives testimony. Testimony is the declaration of truth integral to the African-American oral and literary tradition, going back to the slave narrative and folk practices. Testimonies can give praise and they can boast. They can also attest to suffering and injustice. The ultimate goal is to move the audience. To testify is to tell the truth; it is a form of story-telling based on the personal truth of the teller(s). It is used to allow the storyteller to connect with those who hear the testimony, as well as to a higher plane of being.