Reading Dancing: Bodies and Subjects in Contemporary American Dance

Front Cover
University of California Press, 1986 - Performing Arts - 307 pages
Winner of the Dance Perspectives Foundation de la Torre Bueno Prize

Recent approaches to dance composition, seen in the works of Merce Cunningham and the Judson Church performances of the early 1960s, suggest the possibility for a new theory of choreographic meaning. Borrowing from contemporary semiotics and post-structuralist criticism, Reading Dancing outlines four distinct models for representation in dance which are illustrated, first, through an analysis of the works of contemporary choreographers Deborah Hay, George Balanchine, Martha Graham, and Merce Cunningham, and then through reference to historical examples beginning with court ballets of the Renaissance. The comparison of these four approaches to representation affirms the unparalleled diversity of choreographic methods in American dance, and also suggests a critical perspective from which to reflect on dance making and viewing.

 

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Reading dancing: bodies and subjects in contemporary American dance

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Foster posits the view that dance is a system of meaning that can be interpreted and comprehended if the viewer understands its choreographic conventions. Using the work of four 20th-century ... Read full review

Contents

CHAPTER
1
George Balanchine
14
Martha Graham
23
Merce Cunningham
32
Four Bodies and Subjects
41
Modes of Representation
65
Styles
76
Vocabularies
88
Neoclassical Dance in the Eighteenth Century
121
Expressionist Dance in the Early Twentieth Century
145
Objectivist Dance from 1950 to the Present
167
CHAPTER FOUR
186
Meredith Monk
200
Writing Bodies and Subjects
220
Selected Bibliography
263
Index
287

Reading the Performance
97
CHAPTER THREE
99

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