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Film, Theater, and Performing Arts > Dance

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Making Caribbean Dance Cover

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Making Caribbean Dance

Continuity and Creativity in Island Cultures

Susanna Sloat

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.

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Martha Hill and the Making of American Dance

Janet Mansfield Soares

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.

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Masquerade and Postsocialism

Ritual and Cultural Dispossession in Bulgaria

Gerald W. Creed

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.

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Migrations of Gesture

Carrie Noland

Derived from the Latin verb “gerere”-to carry, act, or do-“gesture” has accrued critical currency but has remained undertheorized. Migrations of Gesture addresses this absence and provides a complex theory on the value of gesture for understanding human sign production.

 

Gestures migrate from body to body, from one medium to another, and between cultural contexts. Juxtaposing distinct approaches to gesture in order to explore the ways in which they at once shape and are influenced by culture, the contributors examine the works of writers Henri Michaux and Stéphane Mallarmé, photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank, and filmmakers Hou Hsiao-Hsien and Martin Arnold, along with cultural practices such as gang walking, ballet, and classical Indian dance. The authors move deftly between an organic, phenomenal appreciation of human expression and a historicist, semiotic understanding of how the “human” is itself created through gestural routines.

 

Contributors:  Mark Franko, U of California, Santa Cruz; Ketu H. Katrak, U of California, Irvine; Akira Mizuta Lippit, U of Southern California; Susan A. Phillips, Pitzer College; Deidre Sklar; Lesley Stern, U of California, San Diego; Blake Stimson, U of California, Davis.

Carrie Noland is associate professor of French literature and critical theory at the University of California, Irvine.

Sally Ann Ness is professor of anthropology at University of California, Riverside.

 

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The Miriam Tradition

Teaching Embodied Torah

Cynthia Sautter

The Miriam Tradition works from the premise that religious values form in and through movement, with ritual and dance developing patterns for enacting those values. Cia Sautter considers the case of Sephardic Jewish women who, following in the tradition of Miriam the prophet, performed dance and music for Jewish celebrations and special occasions. She uses rabbinic and feminist understandings of the Torah to argue that these women, called tanyaderas, "taught" Jewish values by leading appropriate behavior for major life events._x000B__x000B_Sautter considers the religious values that are in music and dance performed by tanyaderas and examines them in conjunction with written and visual records and evidence from dance and music traditions. Explaining the symbolic gestures and motions encoded in dances, Sautter shows how rituals display deeply held values that are best expressed through the body. The book argues that the activities of women in other religions might also be examined for their embodiment and display of important values, bringing forgotten groups of women back into the historical record as important community leaders.

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Mirrors and Scrims

The Life and Afterlife of Ballet

Marcia B. B. Siegel

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.

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The Modern Dance

Seven Statements of Belief

Selma Jeanne Cohen

CONTRIBUTORS: Jose Limon, Anna Sokolow, Erick Hawkins, Donald McKayle, Alwin Nikolas, Pauline Koner, Paul Taylor.

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Movable Pillars

Organizing Dance, 1956-1978

Katja Kolcio

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.

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Moving Lessons

Margaret H'Doubler and the Beginning of Dance in American Education

Janice Ross

Moving Lessons is an insightful and sophisticated look at the origins and influence of dance in American universities, focusing on Margaret H'Doubler, who established the first university courses and the first degree program in dance (at the University of Wisconsin). Dance educator and historian Janice Ross shows that H'Doubler (1889–1982) was both emblematic of her time and an innovator who made deep imprints in American culture. An authentic "New Woman," H'Doubler emerged from a sheltered female Victorian world to take action in the public sphere. She changed the way Americans thought, not just about female physicality but also about higher education for women.
    Ross brings together many discourses—from dance history, pedagogical theory, women's history, feminist theory, American history, and the history of the body—in intelligent, exciting, and illuminating ways and adds a new chapter to each of them. She shows how H'Doubler, like Isadora Duncan and other modern dancers, helped to raise dance in the eyes of the middle class from its despised status as lower-class entertainment and "dangerous" social interaction to a serious enterprise. Taking a nuanced critical approach to the history of women's bodies and their representations, Moving Lessons fills a very large gap in the history of dance education.

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Moving Toward Life

Five Decades of Transformational Dance

Anna Halprin

Anna Halprin is one of the most important innovators in the history of modern dance, performance art, and post-modern dance. Moving Toward Life brings together for the first time her essays, interviews, manifestos, and teaching materials, along with over 100 illustrations, providing a rich account of the work that radicalized an entire generation of performers.

Since the late 1950s, Halprin has been at the forefront of experiments in dance, from improvisation and street theatre to dances in the environment and healing dances. A brief overview of Halprin's career shows how her work has prefigured -- and transfigured -- crucial developments in postmodern dance. In the 1960s, Halprin invented the "workshop," and in the wake of the Watts riots, her multiracial company broke boundaries in their confrontational political performances. In the 1970s, she organized "community rituals" to explore how individual creativity feeds positively into group dynamics. These healing social events led to her current work with cancer survivors and people challenging AIDS and their caregivers.

Depicting Halprin's deep commitment to social change, Moving Toward Life presents an engaging, critical document of the life of one of the most influential and least known luminaries of American dance. Sally Banes and Janice Ross join Rachel Kaplan in providing introductory essays to sections of the book.

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