Review Of "The Place Of Dance: A Somatic Guide To Dancing And Dance Making" By A. Olsen And C. McHose

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This book provides contemporary dance makers with a guide for developing a personal creative process. In this fourth collaborative text by the authors, they draw on more than 30 years of experience as choreographers, dancers, and teachers. For seven years they cotaught a "body and earth" training program, which sought to cross-fertilize ideas from contemporary dance and environmental studies in relation to creative processes, somatic practices, and scientific research. This volume arose from that endeavor. The book is organized as a sequence of 31 "days." (Readers can chose to approach the contents within an actual calendar month or take longer, depending on the investment they make in each chapter.) The format for each "day" includes an introduction to a particular focus (e.g., "training and technique") followed by prompts under the headings "to do" (for instance, "hip reflex"), "to dance" (e.g., "light-touch dances"), and "to write" (e.g., "identify your strengths and weaknesses"). Each chapter closes with "studio notes" that introduce one dance maker and, often, a set of exercises suggested by that person’s creative process. The contents of each chapter are sufficiently rich and varied to support multiple cycles of inquiry. Well-chosen black-and-white photos and illustrations support the text. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals.


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