Introduction to Modern Dance Techniques

Posted on January 1, 2013 by

Book PhotoIntroduction to Modern Dance Techniques
by Joshua Legg
Princeton Book Company, 2011
252 pages, $34.95

Ideal for an undergraduate dance history or pedagogy course, Introduction to Modern Dance Techniques explores the work of more than 10 modern dance choreographers, including Martha Graham, José Limón, Lester Horton, Katherine Dunham and Erick Hawkins. The book highlights the training and technique the choreographers developed and introduces their movement vocabulary.

Author and choreographer Joshua Legg, who has written for Dance Teacher and taught at Harvard University and Shenandoah Conservatory, compares each artist’s methods through historical, cultural, pedagogical and aesthetic lenses. He also calls attention to the way the training of dancers has shifted: Unlike dancers today who train in multiple techniques plus somatics, dancers of the early 20th century were fluent in the one style of their choreographer.

Legg includes descriptions of key exercises from each choreographer’s class work, forming a basic introduction to each movement style. Although the step-by-step instructions are functional, you’ll want to supplement them with video footage that Legg includes in his list of resources at the end of each chapter.

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