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Improvised Dance as a Practice of Freedom
Danielle Goldman's contribution to the theory and history of improvisation in dance is rich, beautiful and extraordinary. In her careful, rigorously imaginative analysis of the discipline of choreography in real time, Goldman both compels and allows us to become initiates in the mysteries of flight and preparation. She studies the massive volitional resources that one unleashes in giving oneself over to being unleashed. It is customary to say of such a text that it is 'long-awaited' or 'much anticipated'; because of Goldman's work we now know something about the potenza, the kinetic explosion, those terms carry. Reader, get ready to move and be moved. ---Fred Moten, Duke University "In this careful, intelligent, and theoretically rigorous book, Danielle Goldman attends to the 'tight spaces' within which improvised dance explores both its limitations and its capacity to press back against them. While doing this, Goldman also allows herself---and us---to be moved by dance itself. The poignant conclusion, evoking specific moments of embodied elegance, vulnerability, and courage, asks the reader: 'Does it make you feel like dancing?' Whether taken literally or figuratively, I can't imagine any other response to this beautiful book." ---Barbara Browning, New York University "This book will become the single most important reflection on the question of improvisation, a question which has become foundational to dance itself. The achievement of I Want to Be Ready lies not simply in its mastery of the relevant literature within dance, but in its capacity to engage dance in a deep and abiding dialogue with other expressive forms, to think improvisation through myriad sites and a rich vein of cultural diversity, and to join improvisation in dance with its manifestations in life so as to consider what constitutes dance's own politics." ---Randy Martin, Tisch School of Arts at New York University I Want To Be Ready draws on original archival research, careful readings of individual performances, and a thorough knowledge of dance scholarship to offer an understanding of the "freedom" of improvisational dance. While scholars often celebrate the freedom of improvised performances, they are generally focusing on freedom from formal constraints. Drawing on the work of Michel Foucault and Houston Baker, among others, Danielle Goldman argues that this negative idea of freedom elides improvisation's greatest power. Far from representing an escape from the necessities of genre, gender, class, and race, the most skillful improvisations negotiate an ever shifting landscape of constraints. This work will appeal to those interested in dance history and criticism and also interdisciplinary audiences in the fields of American and cultural studies. Danielle Goldman is Assistant Professor of Dance at The New School and a professional dancer in New York City, where she recently has danced for DD Dorvillier and Beth Gill. Cover art: Still from Ghostcatching, 1999, by Bill T. Jones, Paul Kaiser, and Shelley Eshkar. Image courtesy of Kaiser/Eshkar.
The Dancer and the Dance
José Limón (1908–1972) was one of the leading figures of modern dance in the twentieth century. Hailed by the New York Times as “the finest male dancer of his time” when the José Limón Dance Company debuted in 1947, Limón was also a renowned choreographer who won two Dance Magazine Awards and a Capezio Dance Award, two of dance’s highest honors. In addition to directing his own dance company, Limón served as artistic director of the Lincoln Center’s American Dance Theater and also taught choreography at the Juilliard School for many years. In this volume, scholars and artists from fields as diverse as dance history, art history, Mesoamerican ethnohistory, Mexican American studies, music studies, and Mexican history come together to explore one of José Limón’s masterworks, the ballet La Malinche. Offering many points of entry into the dance, they examine La Malinche from various angles, such as Limón’s life story and the influence of his Mexican heritage on his work, an analysis of the dance itself, the musical score composed by Norman Lloyd, the visual elements of props and costumes, the history and myth of La Malinche (the indigenous woman who served the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés as interpreter and mistress), La Malinche’s continuing presence in Mexican American culture, and issues involved in a modern restaging of the dance. Also included in the book is a DVD written and directed by Patricia Harrington Delaney that presents the ballet in its entirety, accompanied by expert commentary that sets La Malinche within its artistic and historical context.
Continuity and Creativity in Island Cultures
Caribbean dance is a broad category that can include everything from nightclubs to sacred ritual. Making Caribbean Dance connects the dance of the islands with their rich multicultural histories and complex identities. Delving deep into the many forms of ritual, social, carnival, staged, experimental, and performance dance, the book explores some of the most mysterious and beloved, as well as rare and little-known, dance traditions of the region.
From the evolution of Indian dance in Trinidad to the barely known rituals of los misterios in the Dominican Republic, this volume looks closely at the vibrant and varied movement vocabulary of the islands. With distinctive and highly illuminating chapters on such topics as experimental dance makers in Puerto Rico, the government's use of dance in shaping national identity in Barbados, the role of calypso and soca in linking Anglophone islands, and the invented dances of dance-hall kings and queens of Jamaica, this volume is an evocative and enlightening exploration of some of the world’s most dynamic dance cultures.
Martha Hill (1900-1995) was one of the most influential figures of twentieth century American dance. Her vision and leadership helped to establish dance as a serious area of study at the university level and solidify its position as a legitimate art form. Setting Hill's story in the context of American postwar culture and women's changing status, this riveting biography shows us how Hill led her colleagues in the development of American contemporary dance from the Kellogg School of Physical Education to Bennington College and the American Dance Festival to the Juilliard School at Lincoln Center. She created pivotal opportunities for Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, Charles Weidman, Hanya Holm, Jose Limon, Merce Cunningham, and many others. The book provides an intimate look at the struggles and achievements of a woman dedicated to taking dance out of the college gymnasium and into the theatre, drawing on primary sources that were previously unavailable. It is lavishly illustrated with period photographs.
Ritual and Cultural Dispossession in Bulgaria
Gerald W. Creed analyzes contemporary mumming rituals in rural Bulgaria for what they reveal about life after socialism -- and the current state of postsocialist studies. Mumming rituals have flourished in the post-Soviet era. Elaborately costumed dancers go from house to house demanding sustenance and bestowing blessings. Through the analysis of these rites, Creed critiques key themes in postsocialist studies, including understandings of civil society and democracy, gender and sexuality, autonomy and community, and ethnicity and nationalism. He argues that these events reveal indigenous cultural resources that could have been used both practically and intellectually to ease the postsocialist reconstruction of Bulgarian society, but were not.
The Life and Afterlife of Ballet
In this stunning new collection of reviews and essays, dance critic Marcia B. Siegel grapples with the floating identity of ballet, as well as particular ballets, and with the expanding environment of spectacle in which ballet competes for an audience. Drawn from a wide variety of published sources, these writings concentrate on canonical works of ballet and how the performances of these works have been changing in significant ways. Siegel writes with a keen awareness of the history and mythology that surround particular works, while remaining attentive to the new ways in which a work is interpreted and re-presented by contemporary choreographers and dancers. Through her readable and provocative writings, Siegel offers critical insight into performances of the past twenty-five years to give us a new understanding of ballet in performance. The volume includes over one hundred pieces on a variety of ballet topics, from specific dances and dancers to companies and choreographers, ranging from Swan Lake and The Nutcracker to Nijinsky, Balanchine, Tharp, and Morris to the Bolshoi, the Joffrey, the Miami City Ballet, the Boston Ballet, to name just a few.
Ebook Edition Note: All images have been redacted.
Organizing Dance, 1956-1978
Movable Pillars traces the development of dance as scholarly inquiry over the course of the 20th century, and describes the social-political factors that facilitated a surge of interest in dance research in the period following World War II. This surge was reflected in the emergence of six key dance organizations: the American Dance Guild, the Congress on Research in Dance, the American Dance Therapy Association, the American College Dance Festival Association, the Dance Critics Association, and the Society of Dance History Scholars. Kolcio argues that their founding between the years 1956 and 1978 marked a new period of collective action in dance and is directly related to the inclusion of moving bodies in scholarly research and the ways in which dance studies interfaces with other fields such as feminist studies, critical research methods, and emancipatory education. An impeccable work of archival scholarship and interpretive history, Movable Pillars features nineteen interviews with dance luminaries who were intimately involved in the early years of each group. This is the first book to focus on the founding of these professional organizations and constitutes a major contribution to the understanding of the development of dance in American higher education.
Soloists and the Modern Dance Canon
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.