Boost Your Bookshelf With These Four New Dance Picks
November 3, 2020

Has the pandemic given you more time to do all that dance reading you’ve always dreamed of?

Enter these four new releases, each of note for its in-depth exploration of the art form and its engaging, artful storytelling.

Dance Adventures: True Stories About Dancing Abroad

The cover of Dance Adventures, featuring three women in colorful costumes from different dance genres

Jill Randall

Edited by Megan Taylor Morrison

306 pages; MTM Coaching and Consulting (2020)

Keywords: Travel, first-person accounts, curiosity, dance around the world

Check it out if: You, too, have dreams of traveling the world to study dance, whether it is exploring your own cultural heritage or following a particular style to its origins. Dance Adventures offers stories from 19 dancers who traveled to 17 different countries, including Senegal, the Philippines, Cuba and China. The essays are relatively short in length and are highly accessible; Dance Adventures is a great option for dancers in high school, college and beyond.

The Grand Union: Accidental Anarchists of Downtown Dance, 1970–1976

The cover image of Grand Union, featuring a black and white image of dancers at the top and green text on a white background

Jill Randall

By Wendy Perron

384 pages; Wesleyan University Press (2020)

Keywords: Improvisation, postmodern dance, contact improv

Check it out if: You are interested in improvisation, or any of the core members of Grand Union, such as Trisha Brown, Yvonne Rainer and Steve Paxton. Perron documents the formation of the group, highlighting each artist with great care and describing archival videos in detail. You’ll hear from Grand Union members, their contemporaries and dancers influenced by the work of this group during its six-year existence.

Moving Lessons: Margaret H’Doubler and the Beginning of Dance in American Education (Second Edition)

The cover of Moving Lessons, featuring a black and white photo of a woman dancing outside with a large hula hoop-type prop

Jill Randall

By Janice L. Ross

328 pages; University Press of Florida (2020)

Keywords: Dance in higher education, first dance-degree program in the U.S., skeleton and anatomy as foundation, John Dewey’s philosophy

Check it out if: You teach in higher ed or aspire to be a college professor, or are curious about the lineage of dance from physical education. Ross’ second edition deepens our knowledge of Margaret H’Doubler, who founded the first dance-degree program in the U.S. in 1926 at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Ross also explores the influence of educational philosopher John Dewey on H’Doubler’s pedagogy, as well as her use of a skeleton as a core component in her classes.

Daniel Lewis: A Life in Choreography and the Art of Dance

The cover of the book, featuring a black and white photo of Lewis jumping

Jill Randall

By Donna H. Krasnow and Daniel E. Lewis

239 pages; McFarland (2020)

Keywords: José Limón, Juilliard, New World School of the Arts, long dance career

Check it out if: You are a Limón Company fan or modern dance history buff who loves a journey through the life of an artist. Krasnow recounts Lewis’ career over many decades, which included time as a student and then a faculty member at Juilliard, touring the world with José Limón and then setting Limón’s work, directing his own company, and becoming the first dean of dance at the New World School of the Arts. Notes and quotes from colleagues are woven throughout the book.

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