Books/DVDs: Role Models

Posted on August 9, 2009 by

Pina Bausch
By Royd Climenhaga
Routledge
In a nutshell: A fundamental guide to understanding the works and methods behind the Tanztheater artistic mind.

Another addition to the Routledge Performance Practitioners series, this book is the first English-language overview of the dance theory of the late German native Pina Bausch—one of the 20th century’s most prominent dancemakers. Within its four analytical chapters, the author spans Bausch’s career, from outlining the historical and artistic context for her work to detailed descriptions of her practical exercises, like helping dancers expand on their relationship with the audience. The text also includes a translated 1987 interview with Bausch, in which she opened up about her developmental process and revealed, “I am scared, content, I hope, just like everyone. Maybe this is why people react very strongly to my pieces, because they feel directly spoken to.” Perhaps the most compelling aspect of this book is the in-depth look at her central piece, Kontakthof. Black-and-white performance photos give readers’ eyes a rest from the book’s text-heavy content. For an artist who rarely documented her methods, Pina Bausch uncovers for dance educators and students the commonly unanswered question: How did Bausch do what she did?

Margaret H’Doubler: The Legacy of America’s Dance Education Pioneer
Edited by John M. Wilson, Thomas K. Hagood and Mary A. Brennan
Cambria Press
In a nutshell: An in-depth anthology that explores the life’s work of a venerable higher-education groundbreaker.

While Margaret H’Doubler is best remembered for establishing the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s dance major, this 17-chapter book allows readers to grasp a deeper understanding of her personal life and career. The editors, including two past H’Doubler pupils, claim their collective work presents a “holistic portrait of this interesting, plain, driven, modest, unyielding, flexible, committed, some might say eccentric woman.” The text is logically split into two parts, separated by a mix of black-and-white photographs spanning her career. The first section includes a collection of memories from friends, family members and colleagues, and an entire chapter dedicated to an editors’ roundtable that discusses her life and works. Part two compiles historical documents, notes and interviews that delve into the critical analyses of H’Doubler’s dance philosophies. While certainly not a casual read, this meticulously detailed book will inspire dance scholars and educators looking to expand their dance-education knowledge.

Musical Theatre Training: The Broadway Theatre Project Handbook
By Debra McWaters
University Press of Florida
In a nutshell: An all-encompassing guidebook to a prominent training program in musical theater.

Debra McWaters, artistic director and co-founder of the Broadway Theatre Project, uses 19 chapters to highlight the program’s training techniques to help students excel in the world of musical theater. While some chapters focus on technical training tactics, others provide compelling insight into topics like: how to create a healthy performer, finding an inspirational teacher and the benefits of developing well-rounded students. Captivating images taken from past BTP classes and workshops held at the project’s base in Tampa, Florida, fill every chapter. In this easily navigable text, aspiring students and musical-theater teachers will learn about the benefits of artistic collaboration, how to prepare students for auditions and training techniques, among other subjects. The book’s concluding chapter, “Passing the Baton,” leaves readers with inspirational quotes from many famous artists, including Julie Andrews who said, “Learn your craft and learn it well.” DT

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