Naropa University Press; 203 pages; $40
“Mr. Cunningham, I know I’m not ready for your class physically, but I am mentally and emotionally. May I stay?” These were the career-launching words spoken by former Merce Cunningham company member Barbara Dilley in 1960. She now caps off her 40-year career as a professor at Naropa University in Colorado with This Very Moment, equal parts memoir and handbook for movement improvisation and composition. Perfect for both the dance history buff and the improv fanatic, Dilley’s book places personal anecdotes alongside improvisation scores and inspirational poetry, charting her performance career as a Cunningham and Judson Church dancer, her transition to teaching at Naropa in 1974 and her years as president of the university (1985–1993). The black-and-white photographs and heartfelt memories from her dancing years provide an intimate perspective on dance history.