L. Tarin Chaplin is Assistant Professor and Head of the Dance Program at Middlebury College.
Dance improvisation, the intriguing phenomenon of the creative process alive in the moving body, exists powerfully, sublimely – lending insight, solving problems, allowing moments of transcendence, diversion, and delight. Flourishing especially since the postmodern movement of the 1960s, it has come into its own in the performing arts. While there are many books containing ideas for developing improvisations, few have tackled the difficult questions: “What is dance improvisation?” “How does it work?” or “What is its body of knowledge?”The Moment of Movement goes beyond lists of improvisations and into the heart of improvising. As in their previous book, The Intimate Act of Choreography, the authors pursue both the philosophical and the practical. They begin by examining the creative process as it applies to movement and especially the kinesthetic way in which the body knows and uses movement. They answer the often unstated and pertinent questions of the novice; investigate the particular skills and traits needed by the leader; consider ways of working with specific populations; and provide challenging material for advanced movers. They discuss the use of music, and the specific situation of improvisation in performance. For leaders who want to design their own improvisations, they trace the evolution of an idea into an actual content and structure. They also address the controversial issue of the legitimacy of improvisation in an academic curriculum. A final chapter presents hundreds of improvs and improv ideas, grouped into units and cross-referenced.The Moment of Movement is not tied to any one point of view. The authorsÆ presentation of a broad range of material is flexible enough for use by choreographers, directors, educators, and therapists. In its perceptive investigation of the experiential and conceptual aspects of dance improvisation, this book articulates the ephemeral.
A comprehensive book that covers all aspects of choreography from the most fundamental techniques to highly sophisticated artistic concerns. The Intimate Act of Choreography presents the what and how of choreography in a workable format that begins with basics- – time, space, force — and moves on to the more complex issues faced by the intermediate and advanced choreographer — form, style, abstraction, compositional structures, and choreographic devices.
The format of the book evolved from the idea that improvisation is a good way to learn choreography. This approach is in harmony with widely accepted dance philosophies that value the unique quality of each individual’s creativity. After discussing a concept, the authors provide improvisations, and choreographic studies that give the student a physical experience of that concept. The language is stimulating an innovative, rich in visual images that will challenge the choreographer to explore new directions in movement.
The book is for serious dance students and professionals who are interested in both the practical and theoretical aspects of the art, dancers who are just starting to choreograph, and teachers who are seeking fresh ideas and new approaches to use with young choreographers. (A Teacher’s Addendum offers suggestions on how to use the material in the classroom.) It is a guide, a text, and an extensive resource of every choreographic concept central to the art form.