Books/DVDs: Extra Credit

Posted on August 9, 2008 by

instructional

Therapeutic Exercises Using
Foam Rollers
Therapeutic Exercises Using Resistive Bands

by Caroline Corning Creager, PT
Executive Physical Therapy, Inc.
In a nutshell: Two user-friendly manuals to share in class or use at home.

As much as dancers love to dance, there’s no denying the toll it takes on their bodies. Taking steps to reduce and prevent injury is the subject of these books, which outline how to incorporate foam rollers and resistive bands into your exercise regimen in order to stretch and strengthen. Exercises are all illustrated with detailed step-by-step instructions and special notes on correct execution and safety. Also included are tips on how to treat such injuries as piriformis syndrome, hip tendonitis, ankle sprains and low-back pain. For readers seeking continued longevity in movement, the wealth of information Creager provides is invaluable.

The Meaning of Tango: The Story of the Argentinian Dance
by Christine Denniston
Portico (Anova Books)
In a nutshell: A great tool for providing a solid foundation for an education in Tango dance.

Having taught tango on five continents, Denniston is well-versed in this lively genre. Beginning with the meaning and purpose behind the dance, she describes its history, focusing on the immigration, romance, politics and passion that were imperative to its inception and how it has evolved over time. Detailed instructions and diagrams help readers understand the technical aspects of tango, including transferring weight, holding a partner correctly and turning.

The Fosse Style
by Debra McWaters
University Press
of Florida
In a nutshell: A step-by-step guide to perfecting Fosse style.

McWaters, who was the director-choreographer of the international tour of Fosse, dissects the dancemaker’s notoriously difficult style in this detailed book. As she shows, there’s more to it than hunched shoulders, turned-in legs and arms akimbo. Beginning with individual movements such as “soft-boiled-egg hands” and “broken doll arms,” McWaters explains the intricacies of hand, arm, shoulder and hip isolations before progressing to group movement, locomotor steps and the nuances of facial expression essential to the work. Photos, passed down by Fosse himself to Gwen Verdon, Ann Reinking, Ben Vereen, Chita Rivera and Liza Minnelli, illustrate the craft, look and attitude of the technique that continues to thrive today.

Theory

Your Move
by Ann Hutchinson Guest and Tina Curran
Routledge
In a nutshell: A guide to understanding movement through dance notation.

Hutchinson Guest and Curran, founder and co-founder of the Language of Dance Centers in the UK and U.S., respectively, explain how dance notation can be used to deepen a dancer’s relationship with her craft in this second edition. Beneficial to both beginners and dance notation professionals, the book pays special attention to areas such as balance, rotation, direction in space and flexion and extension. The authors bring their explanations to life with illustrations, as well as a music CD composed to accompany studies in the book.

The Body Eclectic: Evolving Practices in Dance Training
Edited by Melanie Bales and Rebecca Nettl-Fiol
University of Illinois Press
In a nutshell: An intellectual look at modern dance training over time.

Ohio State University dance professor Bales and University of Illinois dance professor Nettl-Fiol have compiled a collection of essays and interviews that investigate the evolution of modern dance over the past 50 years. They also take a look at the changing role of dance education during this time, explaining how class-taking practices both change and mirror what society values in dance. Contributors include Wendell Beavers, Veronica Dittman, David Dorfman, Martha Myers, Ralph Lemon, Bebe Miller and Tere O’Connor. Suggested sources for further reading are also provided.

Biography

Remembering Nureyev: The Trail
of a Comet

by Rudi van Dantzig
University Press of Florida
In a nutshell: An intimate look at the subject from a friend’s perspective.

Rudolf Nureyev requested that his friend and colleague van Dantzig share his story. While their relationship was strained by clashes in lifestyle and artistic choices, Nureyev believed van Dantzig could give a truthful account of his life and career. In this intimately told memoir, Nureyev is portrayed as a man rather than a legend. The author takes all aspects of his life into consideration, including his volatile disposition and undeniable allure. Beginning with their first meeting in a dressing room prior to a performance of Raymonda in 1968, the book spans many important moments in the dancer’s life. Although Nureyev passed away more than 15 years ago, van Dantzig ensures that his influence as a dancer, friend, fighter and realist will never be forgotten.

Young Adult

Meet the Dancers: From Ballet, Broadway, and Beyond
by Amy Nathan
Henry Holt and Company
In a nutshell: Young dancers will find inspiration in this collection of pros’ tales.

In Nathan’s compilation of stories, we meet 16 professional dancers who specialize in everything from ballet to Broadway. Whether they began dancing at age 3, like New York City Ballet dancer Teresa Reichlen, or age 13, like Broadway’s Elizabeth Parkinson, the subjects share the challenges they encountered in their rise to success. The stories prove rewarding and inspiring for beginners and young students. They also touch on issues such as body image, the college debate and the benefits and drawbacks of competitions. A portion of the proceeds from the book’s sales will be used to promote dance education.

House of Dance
by Beth Kephart
Laura Geringer Books
In a nutshell: An entertaining and emotional read for teen students.

In this novel, dance can empower both participants and observers. Fifteen-year-old Rosie learns this lesson at a very difficult time in her life. Abandoned by her father and living with a mother who spends most of her time with her business partner, Rosie begins daily visits to her ailing grandfather. It is on one of these trips that she discovers a studio called the House of Dance, where she takes up ballroom dance lessons with professional champion Max—a life-altering decision for both Rosie and her family. Young readers will empathize with Rosie as she discovers an untapped talent that helps her learn to celebrate each day. Kephart has penned a great read that will speak to teen dancers who are faced with more responsibility at home than most.

Behind the Scenes

Balanchine Variations
by Nancy Goldner
University Press of Florida
In a nutshell: A breakdown of some of Balanchine’s most celebrated ballets.

As a dance critic and former dancer, Goldner has a thorough knowledge of the subject and adds her own insights to create a unique perspective. Here she takes a close look at Balanchine’s vast repertory rather than the dance legend’s biography, incorporating critical analyses and detailed descriptions of the movement and storyline of some of Balanchine’s most celebrated ballets. She also provides a history of each piece, placing it in the context of the artist’s life and referring to her own experiences with him from her days at The School of American Ballet. Beginning with Apollo, which Balanchine choreographed at age 24, the book covers 20 other masterpieces and culminates with Ballo della Regina, choreographed 50 years later. DT

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