Beautiful Body, Beautiful Mind: The Power of Positive Imagery
by Eric Franklin
Elysian Editions

In a nutshell: Mobilizing the power of thought for a healthy lifestyle.
In this guidebook, Eric Franklin illustrates more than 80 exercises for maintaining a healthy physical-emotional connection—the key to longevity, without artificial creams, pastes, surgeries or pills. He infuses positive imagery and mental techniques (i.e., self talk and goal setting) into the book’s eight chapters, targeting major parts of the body, including the joints and cartilage, bones, muscles, brain and nervous system. Franklin’s overall lesson: Whether you achieve your fitness goals is determined by habits in the quality of your thoughts and daily life. —Erin K. Dean

Shanti Generation for Youth Peacemakers
by Abby Wills

WSR Creative

In a nutshell: An introductory yoga program for 10- to 15-year-olds.
Led by the soothing instruction of yoga teacher Abby Wills, seven teen students demonstrate exercises that encourage physical, mental and social development. During the 90-minute session, viewers will learn 18 yoga poses for focus, energy and calmness, along with other sequences that focus on flexibility, balance, meditation, breathing and stress management. Viewers can navigate through the five sections as they choose, while relaxing to music by 311 bassist Aaron Wills. A special features section includes interviews with the teenage yogis, who share the benefits of yoga for young people. —Jenny Thompson

Pilates and Calisthenics for Children
by Larkin Barnett, BA, MA

Lorenz Educational Press

In a nutshell: A kid-friendly manual for teaching Pilates and calisthenics.
Written by Larkin Barnett, an exercise science professor at Florida Atlantic University and former dancer, this easy-to-follow text teaches movement to children through creative visualization that accesses all five senses. Though concise, this book is packed with instructional tips and cartoon-like visuals to help students grasp mind-body connection. The first three chapters detail the “ABCs” of Pilates—alignment, breathing and core control basics. The remaining three sections cover “Calisthenics Exercises,” “Pilates Mat Exercises” and “Wall Stretches,” with each exercise illustrating how to engage the imagination of children. A certificate of completion template for students is also included. —JT

Practical Pilates: Using Imagery
by Larkin Barnett, BA, MA
The Lorenz Corporation

In a nutshell: Using visual imagery to help condition the body.
Larkin Barnett fused her dance and movement-therapy expertise into a practical fitness program to help remedy America’s increasing struggle with health issues—especially obesity. This resource offers more than 70 simple movements (modeled by Miami City Ballet dancers) that use visual imagery to control flexibility, strength and body maintenance. She includes moves that can be done while on the go, watching television, sitting on an airplane or waiting in line. And with a focus on the key ingredients for success in dance—alignment, breathing and centering—these exercises can also be carried into classroom teaching technique. —JT

Split Sides
By The Merce Cunningham
Dance Company
Cunningham Dance Foundation and ARTPIX
In a nutshell: The Merce Cunningham Dance Company performs Split Sides (2003).

This two-hour DVD set captures the 45th and 46th performances of the late Merce Cunningham’s Split Sides (2003). Known for implementing chance operations to create dance, the iconic modern choreographer rolls dice just before each featured work to determine the set design, costumes, lighting, music, choreography and order in which these elements appear. While there are 32 possible combinations of performances for this dance, this two-disc DVD presents four showings that allow viewers the option to alternate between the original Radiohead and Sigur Rós soundtracks, or watch it in silence. Also featured are set designs by Robert Heishman and Catherine Yass, costumes by James Hall and lighting by James F. Ingalls. Filmmaker Charles Atlas beautifully captures the two chance-determined pieces—each split into two 20-minute sections—in this DVD that will captivate modern dance enthusiasts. —JT

Martha Hill & the Making of American Dance
By Janet Mansfield Soares
Wesleyan University Press
In a nutshell: A lively portrait of Martha Hill’s formative role in modern dance in the United States.

Martha Hill’s story as a catalyst in the development of American contemporary dance is often overshadowed by the likes of Martha Graham and Doris Humphrey. But author Janet Mansfield Soares does justice to the often unsung heroine by shedding light on her struggles and dedication to turning the artform into a serious area of study. In nine chapters, the author chronicles pinnacle moments in this modern missionary’s life, from “Growing Up in Ohio 1900–1922” to “Dancing with Graham 1929–1931” to “Plans for Lincoln Square 1955–1956,” along with her influence on the Juilliard School and the American Dance Festival. Amid the historical backdrop, Soares, a longtime student of Hill’s, reveals Hill’s deep regret of abandoning a performance career, among other secrets she worked hard to conceal from the public. “I am a product of my experiences,” Hill told Soares on sharing private information for this biography. “My life within its social context is an interesting story.” —Erin K. Dean

New Dance: Writings on Modern Dance

By Doris Humphrey
Princeton Book Company, Publishers
In a nutshell: A glimpse inside the mind of Doris Humphrey.

In this short, 132-page book, Doris Humphrey reflects on her perception of modern dance through a collection of never-before-seen notes, essays and lectures. She explains her philosophies of the moving body, composition and teaching dance, and details the application of her theories to choreography, discussing methods used to teach space, rhythm and design. The modern dance pioneer also gives advice on choosing subject matter, accomplishing projection and rejecting isolation and egocentricity to carry on the work; she addresses such questions as: “Do you love to dance?” “Do you love to see someone else moving according to your dream?” and “How do you convey the meaning or the mood of what you are doing to the best possible advantage to the people who are in front of you?” The book’s first part, “Principles,” presents Humphrey’s personal worldview in relation to dance, and part two, “Notes on Dances,” chronicles her creative process for 42 works, including masterpieces like Water Study, New Dance and Passacaglia in C Minor. —Jenny Thompson

Pina Bausch
By Royd Climenhaga
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

 With the nation's birthday just around the corner, why not celebrate by making your way to the theater this weekend and catch the next performance on the American Dance Festival lineup. The Aspen Santa Fe Ballet will be performing July 2-4 at the Durham Performing Arts Center in North Carolina as part of the 2009 festival. For three nights, members of the company will perform pieces including the reconstructions of Twyla Tharp's Sue's Leg and Lauren Dean's Night. In addition, the company will perform William Forsythe's Slingerland Pas de Deux and Jorma Elo's Red Sweet. For more information, visit

What do your shoes really say about you? Find out this weekend as the Sasha Soreff Dance Theatre of New York City performs "The Other Shoe," a 45-minute performance in which 16 dancers explore aspects of dread, desire, fear and anxiety—all symbolized by different kinds of shoes. The unique set is embellished with suspended shoes like stilettos, sandals, pointe shoes, jazz shoes and many others. The shoes used during the performance have been collected specifically for the piece, and will be donated to Goodwill and Housing Works. The performance premieres tonight, June 25, and runs through Sunday evening at the Ailey Citigroup Theater. For more information, visit

Want a great way to kick off the week?  Why not spend the day with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, right in the comfort of your own home. Join the company online every week for a new installation of Mondays with Merce, their webcast series. The episodes give viewers a chance to go behind the scenes at the Merce Cunningham Studio to watch Cunningham in action conducting classes and rehearsals. You can also watch interviews with company members, as well. If you’re a first time viewer, catch up by checking out the past episodes that are also available. Visit the company’s website and start watching now!

Many dance educators, choreographers and students are gearing up for the National Dance Education Organization’s annual conference next week which will be held at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Performing Arts in New York City. Amid numerous master-classes, workshops, presentations and performances, there will be a new workshop offered to high school and college dance students: The Passing on the Legacy Workshop. This all-day intensive with master dancer and choreographer Bill Evans, along with musician and composer Dr. Suzanne Knosp, will give students the opportunity to choreograph and dance in a collaborative site-specific work that will be performed during the conference’s closing ceremony. The workshop will take place in the middle of the conference week on Wednesday, June 24th from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit

Today marks the start of the next performance series in the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Sitelines’s 2009 Festival. Until July 17, New Yorkers can catch choreographers Jonah Bokaer (formerly of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company) and Judith Sanchez Ruiz (Trisha Brown Dance Company) at One Chase Manhattan Plaza as they perform their site-specific work, Untitled Corner, in collaboration with visual artist Daniel Arsham. The piece, which was recently performed in Spain, examines memory loss, pattern recognition, and perceptual faculties as they apply to the human body in public space. Arsham has created an eight-foot, 3-dimensional cube made from pieces of foam for the set, allowing the dancers to explore their movements in different locations through various entry and exit points. For more information, visit

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