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On Stage Alone

Soloists and the Modern Dance Canon

Claudia Gitelman

Publication Year: 2012

Soloists ignited the modern dance movement and have been a source of its constant renewal. Pioneering dancers such as Loïe Fuller, Isadora Duncan, Ruth St. Denis, and Maud Allan embodied the abstraction and individuality of the larger modernist movement while making astounding contributions to their art. Nevertheless, solo dancers have received far less attention in the literature than have performers and choreographers associated with large companies.

In On Stage Alone, editors Claudia Gitelman and Barbara Palfy take an international approach to the solo dance performance. The essays in this standout volume broaden the dance canon by bringing to light modern dance soloists from Europe, Asia, and the Americas who have shaped significant, sustained careers by performing full programs of their own choreography.

Featuring in-depth examinations of the work of artists such as Michio Ito, Daniel Nagrin, Ann Carlson, and many others, On Stage Alone reveals the many contributions made by daring solo dancers from the dawn of the twentieth century through today. In doing so, it explores many important statements these soloists made regarding topics such as freedom, personal space, individuality, and gender in the modern era.

Published by: University Press of Florida

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-vi

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. 1-6

Soloists ignited the modern dance movement and they have been a source of its constant renewal, inhabiting space between the new and the not-yet-known. Soloists, however, have received less attention in dance literature than have performers and choreographers...

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ONE: Michio Ito’s Shadow: Searching for the Transnational in Solo Dance

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pp. 7-30

Michio Ito (1893–1961) included more than two hundred dancers in his Pageant of Lights at the Rose Bowl, but the Pasadena Star News of September 21, 1929, claimed that the massive ensemble was overshadowed by his ninety-five-second closing...

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TWO: Alone into the World: Reflections on Solos from 1919 by Vaslav Nijinsky and Mary Wigman

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pp. 31-54

According to Romola Nijinsky, her husband Vaslav began his program of solos at the Suvretta Hotel in the Swiss resort St. Moritz in January 1919 by sitting still in a chair for an uncomfortably long time.1 While Romola interpreted this as a sign of Nijinsky’s...

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THREE: The Solo That Isn’t a Solo: Ann Carlson’s Dances with Animals

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pp. 55-72

Isadora Duncan, the great soloist progenitor of modern dance, famously declared that she had never danced a solo. “When I have danced I have tried always to be the Chorus: I have been the Chorus of young girls hailing the return of the fleet, I have been...

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FOUR: Aesthetics of Early Modernist Solo Dance in Central Europe

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pp. 73-118

Modern dance in Europe established itself as a distinctive aesthetic experience in the early twentieth century primarily through solo dancing. Audiences became aware of a new relation between body and movement as a result of seeing concerts...

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FIVE: Exotica and Ethereality: The Solo Art of Maud Allan

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pp. 119-140

In March 1908 a prominent British critic reported that The Vision of Salome, performed by the aesthetic dancer Maud Allan, “was so haunting a fascination that many people cannot keep away from it and return to the Palace to see it night after night.”1 Allan...

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SIX: Modernity and Nationalism in Solo Dance in Brazil: The Bailado of Eros Volúsia and the Performance of Luiz de Abreu

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pp. 141-162

The first four decades of the twentieth century witnessed countless transformations in dance in Europe and North America, which reverberated in Asia and South America. One of the most important phenomena of this new dance was found in the composition...

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SEVEN: Strange Heroes

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pp. 163-186

A spotlight picks him out as he enters. It could be a streetlamp. He is dressed to kill—in more ways than one. Black pegged pants, black shoes, a shirt and tie, a blue-green pinstriped jacket with extravagantly padded shoulders and a nipped-in waist. Daniel..

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EIGHT: Anna Huber: A Conceptual Moment in Switzerland

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pp. 187-202

Anna Huber’s dances begin with a concept; we watch the concept evolve into something centered in the body and yet beyond the body. Huber bases her choreography on ideas integrated with the body, a conceptual approach, rather than on ideas formed...

List of Contributors

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pp. 203-204


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pp. 205-213

E-ISBN-13: 9780813043623
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813040257
Print-ISBN-10: 0813040256

Page Count: 224
Illustrations: 29 photos
Publication Year: 2012