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Author Topic: Books on Dance  (Read 1496 times)
samina
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« on: March 26, 2011, 09:45:01 AM »

I looked and found no thread listing books specifically related to dancing... please move to the correct thread if one already exists. I didn't want to post in the Great Books thread, as that is not dance-specific.

I recently decided to make use of my library's inter-library loan system, and the first batch of books I put in for arrived.

My favorite read in this batch? Just One Idea: The Collected Articles & Lecture Notes of Len Scrivener, edited by Bryan Allen.
Excellent. Much of this is definitely getting photo-copied before it gets sent back. I was impressed with how much of these elementals I was familiar with, had been presented to me as fundamental concepts or technical details in the course of my instruction. And what I appreciated most was the thread that's woven through Scrivener's comments.. do what's natural, don't over-complicate. And how important the inner line of the feet is -- that is something I've found out in my own training/experimentation, as well. I felt I would have liked & respected this man enormously, had I met him when he was alive.

Next: Modern Ballroom Dancing by Victor Silvester (the new edition). I appreciated gaining an overview on how the ballroom dances came into being, and how the evolved at the outset both socially & competitively. I also like the figure break-downs -- will add these to my own library and make use of them in reference in my "ballroom quigong" work.

A History of English Ballroom Dancing by Philip J.S. Richardson was extremely similar to Silvester's book -- mostly re-iterations (or vice versa), so I gave it a through scan rather than detailed read.

Enjoyed reading The Dancing Years by Bill & Bobbie Irvine. The book is in the voice of Bill recounting how they got started, how they met, the evolution of their relationship & their dancing, through their first & last World Championship titles (1960-1968). He had an exuberant personality -- I would have loved to hear Bobbie's voice in the mix, as I gather she had more subtlety and a female perspective of that journey would have been great to hear. I found it interesting that their coming together was rocky -- it was not a paragon of harmony. But eventually they made it work. Same thing with their dancing... it didn't work for them very well, and didn't feel good... until it suddenly did, after much determination.

Cannot say I enjoyed Glamour Addiction by Juliet McMains. I knew what I was ordering when I did so... have been privy to discussion of the book, especially when it came out, and knew I did not relate to many of the points she made in the book. I just didn't know until I had it in my hands that I basically just don't relate to the primary premises of the book and to what drew her into dance & competing in the first place. Our motivations were/have been different. And I do not care for the "academic dissertation" style of the book. Not my thing, though I understand it has its place in those circles. I scanned this book thoroughly... it did not speak to me, personally. I'm not a glamour addict and I find value in the dancesport/competition world & lifestyle in a way that the author did not.

Two books that I am so very disappointed to learn that my library's inter-loan system cannot locate: Latin: Thinking, Sensing and Doing by Ruud Vermeij and Dance To Your Maximum by Maximiliaan Winkelhuis (which apparently was only found in the Netherlands?). Very disappointed indeed, on both accounts. Sad

We shall see what the next batch promises. I submitted an extensive list of books I wanted to read, all related to ballroom.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2011, 09:47:30 AM by samina » Logged
elisedance
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« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2011, 11:38:16 AM »

Great idea sam - thanks..
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GreenEyes26
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« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2011, 01:21:36 AM »


My favorite read in this batch? Just One Idea: The Collected Articles & Lecture Notes of Len Scrivener, edited by Bryan Allen.
Excellent. Much of this is definitely getting photo-copied before it gets sent back. I was impressed with how much of these elementals I was familiar with, had been presented to me as fundamental concepts or technical details in the course of my instruction. And what I appreciated most was the thread that's woven through Scrivener's comments.. do what's natural, don't over-complicate. And how important the inner line of the feet is -- that is something I've found out in my own training/experimentation, as well. I felt I would have liked & respected this man enormously, had I met him when he was alive.

I hear this book is nearly impossible to get! How does your library have it I wonder?! Is it a public library or one through a university...? Maybe I'll have to find become a member so I can read this one too! Smiley So tempted to request a section on PDO of boot-leg books - lol.

Enjoyed reading The Dancing Years by Bill & Bobbie Irvine. The book is in the voice of Bill recounting how they got started, how they met, the evolution of their relationship & their dancing, through their first & last World Championship titles (1960-1968). He had an exuberant personality -- I would have loved to hear Bobbie's voice in the mix, as I gather she had more subtlety and a female perspective of that journey would have been great to hear. I found it interesting that their coming together was rocky -- it was not a paragon of harmony. But eventually they made it work. Same thing with their dancing... it didn't work for them very well, and didn't feel good... until it suddenly did, after much determination.

My partner has this book. I'm hoping he'll let me read it when he finishes =D.

Two books that I am so very disappointed to learn that my library's inter-loan system cannot locate: Latin: Thinking, Sensing and Doing by Ruud Vermeij and Dance To Your Maximum by Maximiliaan Winkelhuis (which apparently was only found in the Netherlands?). Very disappointed indeed, on both accounts. Sad

I would LOVE to read the first! (sigh!) If you ever find it, please offer a synopsis/some of its interesting points! =D I have the second one: Dance to Your Maximum. It's good, but I think of it as more of reference book than one I would read straight through. My partner and I tried to do some of the exercises Max talked about, and they were helpful, but I think some of what he wrote was a little beyond me at the time (maybe I should go back and re-read...). I think it's also aimed at pro/top am-am couples, and it was difficult to apply some methods/advice to someone like me.
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"As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.”

 ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
samina
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« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2011, 06:01:23 PM »


My favorite read in this batch? Just One Idea: The Collected Articles & Lecture Notes of Len Scrivener, edited by Bryan Allen.
Excellent. Much of this is definitely getting photo-copied before it gets sent back. I was impressed with how much of these elementals I was familiar with, had been presented to me as fundamental concepts or technical details in the course of my instruction. And what I appreciated most was the thread that's woven through Scrivener's comments.. do what's natural, don't over-complicate. And how important the inner line of the feet is -- that is something I've found out in my own training/experimentation, as well. I felt I would have liked & respected this man enormously, had I met him when he was alive.

I hear this book is nearly impossible to get! How does your library have it I wonder?! Is it a public library or one through a university...? Maybe I'll have to find become a member so I can read this one too! Smiley So tempted to request a section on PDO of boot-leg books - lol.

I know, I was just tickled that it came through so quickly! There's a national inter-library loan system that my county participates in -- check to see if your does as well. My copy of the book came from the Seattle Public Library, and I am in NJ.

As for Dance To Your Maximum and Latin: Thinking, Sensing, & Doing, it appears I have found a lending source for the books. I shall report back. Am very much looking forward to reading both of these! Smiley


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samina
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« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2011, 06:20:41 PM »

A new batch of inter-library loan books came through this weekend. One of them I have finished, and the other I am deliciously  ensconced in reading with that special appreciation that comes rarely, when you find a work over-flowing with wisdom and inspiration, each sentence richer & more inspiring or instructive than the last... a book that speaks directly to one's own very personal orientation. I am so buying this book for my own library. Smiley

It's titled The Six Questions: Acting Technique for Dance Performance, by Daniel Nagrin, and is an utterly unexpected gem... about far, far more than "acting", "dance", or "performing". It penetrates to the heart of... everything... of what it means to be a dancer, an artist... and richly, soulfully human. It is also deeply practical, not at all theoretical, and includes a thick section of exercises which the author has used with his dancers, and which he has taken the time to map to specific purposes & functions within the book.

An example of his voice: "Your pride in your physical presence should not depend upon being beautiful. Beauty is too cheap and too perishable...All that matters is that you are here!...You're one of us and you know something that nobody else knows. When you being to dance you are doing something for us: you are helping us live with ourselves. What could be more beautiful or powerful than that?.... With wondrous dancers, this pride is not in the forefront of their minds; it is the electricity that fllows up and down their spines and radiates out through their legs, the arms and particularly in the carriage of the head."

He quotes one of this students in the book: "Pride onstage to me is the simple willingness to be onstage (which is not simple). I take pride in the blatant vulnerability that performing demands of me. Not many can stand so naked and offer up their "shortcomings" (their human-ness). The ability to do this at all should make on prideful above any physical imperfections."

I am not done reading the book, and am relishing the experience, as it's such a delicious experience to encounter a book that speaks so directly to one's heart & mind.

I did also read another book by P.J.S. Richardson, The Social Dances of the 19th Century. By contrast, this book is more a quaint curiosity that, for my purposes, I mostly scanned every page before setting it aside. It's more for those who have a reason to get into the fine details of the late 1700s through the turn of the 19th century as the period pertained to elite society (a la Vanity Fair & Vauxhall Gardens, as well as a wee bit of Jane Austen's world) and the quadrilles, cotillions, lancers, German waltzes, Austrian waltzes, and polkas they danced; where they danced them, under whose hospitality, and how many pence per ticket; and with what order they were danced as per the attendees' social standing. I know that there is a community near by in NYC who regularly dance the quadrille and attend cotillions. I am not of that society. Good book for a novelist or historian to read, though. If they have a purpose for doing so.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2011, 06:26:36 PM by samina » Logged
elisedance
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« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2011, 07:53:34 PM »

Very interesting.  One thought: according to bodyschool we are supposed to check our egos at the door - which I read as pride.  Whereas the above advocates relishing in pride.  Seems like very different approaches to dance...
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samina
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« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2011, 08:23:58 PM »

I think it is just the way you are defining pride. It is semantics. We may need to check our egos at the door in order to lay down one's resistance and attachment to limiting conditioning and the static that takes one out of the moment, but pride can also be "this is who I am-ness", without apology, insecurity, or dimishment. It's authenticity and radiance, and it's natural. Like the sun radiating...it isn't attempting to be other than or less than what it is, as even that would be "ego". It's, rather, more like...Ego. Dignity. One's natural, unadulerated Essence. A good thing. Smiley
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elisedance
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« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2011, 08:28:40 PM »

Thats a nice take.  I mean its good to take pride in your achievements as long, I suppose, as it does not become the end in itself...
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If you must leave the house, go build a home...

The limit of your love is also the limit of your art...
samina
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« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2011, 08:54:01 PM »

I agree with that. I just don't think that's the spirit in which the word was being used by that author.
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elisedance
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« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2011, 09:41:41 PM »

Good. Smiley
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The limit of your love is also the limit of your art...
phoenix13
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« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2013, 12:40:07 PM »

Some of these books (like the one by Len Scrivener) are available on Amazon, if you're willing to pay large sums of cash.
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elisedance
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« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2013, 04:27:04 AM »

I had a book collection but got rid of it during the long period where I was off dance.  I certainly regret it now...
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If you must leave the house, go build a home...

The limit of your love is also the limit of your art...
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