Anita Gonzalez is a Professor who heads Dance, Theatre Studies and the Global Theatre and Ethnic Drama minor at UM. She directs, devises and writes dance theatre works. Her innovative stagings of historical and cross-cultural experiences have appeared on PBS national television and at Lincoln Center Out-of Doors, The Working Theatre, Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre, New York Live Arts, Tribeca Performing Arts Center, and other national and international venues.
Recent plays and musicals include The Living Lakes, (dance theatre work about African American and Latino migrations in the icy Great Lakes), Ybor City (Cuban unionists, readings, rhumba, and smoke converge in 1918 Tampa, Florida) and Ayanna Kelly (a Black Caribbean woman time travels through British pubs until she finds self-discovery). Recent directing projects include We Are Proud to Present… by Jackie Sibblies-Drury at University of Oklahoma (2018), Sun and Shadows, a large scale shadow puppet event, The Snark, a project mapped nightmare, Momentum by Cindy Sanabria (2013), Nobody by Richard Aellen for the Juneteenth Festival (2011), two short plays for Manhattan Theatre Source’s Estrogenius Festival (2009/2010). Gonzalez was commissioned to write the libretto for Home of My Ancestors (2017) with composer Nkeiru Okoye for the Houston Grand Opera. She is a Michigan Regional Representative for the Dramatists Guild, a Member of the National Theatre Conference, a member of the League of Professional Women in Theatre, and a founding member of the Urban Bush Women. The NEA, NYFA, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Mid Atlantic Arts Association, the Bellagio Center, and the FIDEOCOMISO for United States/ Mexico Arts exchange have all funded her work. She holds a Ph.D. in Theatre and Performance Studies and has completed three international Fulbright awards.
Anita has authored two books Afro-Mexico: Dancing Between Myth and Reality (2010) and Jarocho’s Soul (2005) that reveal the influence of African people and their cultural productions on Mexico. She also co-edited the volume Black Performance Theory (Duke University Press 2013). Her essays about multi-cultural and international performance appear in several edited collections including The Community Performance Reader (Kuppers), Festive Devils (Riggio, Segura, and Vignola) and the Oxford Handbook of Dance and Theatre (George-Graves, 2015). She has published articles in the Radical History Review, Modern Drama, Performance Research International, and Dance Research Journal.
Gonzalez was a Humanities Center Fellow at the University of Michigan during the 2017/18 academic year and she is a recent recipient of the Shirley Verrett Award.