Thomas F. DeFrantz


Thomas F. DeFrantz


Thomas F. DeFrantz is Professor of Dance at Duke University, and President of the Society of Dance History Scholars, an international organization that advances the field of dance studies through research, publication, performance, and outreach to audiences across the arts, humanities, and social sciences.

He is also the director of SLIPPAGE: Performance, Culture, Technology, a research group that explores emerging technology in live performance applications. His books include the edited volume Dancing Many Drums: Excavations in African American Dance (2002) and Dancing Revelations: Alvin Ailey’s Embodiment of African American Culture (2004).

A director and writer, his creative works include Queer Theory! An Academic Travesty commissioned by the Theater Offensive of Boston and the Flynn Center for the Arts. In 2005 he worked with DonnaFaye Burchfield to design the American Dance Festival/Hollins University MFA Program in dance. For many years, he taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA.

Born a Hoosier, my work focuses on theories of African diaspora aesthetics, intersections of dance and technology, and dance historiography. I write articles and essays about black dance in the United States, as they are practiced in the US and in global contexts. My research group, SLIPPAGE, is in residence at Duke, and we work to create innovate interfaces that help us tell alternative histories.”


  • PhD, Performance Studies Department, New York University
    Dissertation: Revelations: The Choreographies of Alvin Ailey
  • MA, Liberal Studies, City College of New York
    Thesis Topic: Towards A Political Economy of Dance
  • BA, Music Composition and Theater Studies, Yale College, New Haven, CT


  • National Performance Network Creation Grant for Queer Theory! 2005
  • “Best of the New” for Moves Across the Water, Boston Globe Ideas 2005
  • National Endowment for the Arts/Theatre Communications Group Directing Fellowship Semifinalist 2000
  • Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Residency 1999
  • Drama League Special Interest Residency 1997


Sources: | (2014)


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