Review Of "Introduction To Modern Dance Techniques" By J. Legg

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This is Legg's first book, and it reflects his years of teaching in a variety of college and university dance environments, both academic and cocurricular. Motivated in part by articles he wrote for Dance Teacher and Dance Spirit magazines, the book is intended for use in beginning modern dance courses. Arranged chronologically, the seven well-organized chapters provide a clear orientation to approaches to dance technique from the beginnings of 20th-century American modern dance through contemporary post-Judson training practices. Each technique/style is framed as a teaching unit that includes brief information on the biography and creative philosophies of the choreographer: Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, Katherine Dunham, Lester Horton, Erick Hawkins, José Limón, Merce Cunningham, Alwin Nikolais/Murray Louis, and Paul Taylor. Also included are sample materials for technique classes along with composition and improvisation exercises created by the author and based on the philosophies of each choreographer noted above. These are followed by prompts for journaling, movement observation, and class discussion. Each chapter includes a variety of illustrations and concludes with an appropriate works cited that will be useful to students for continued research. Appendixes that present a brief exploration of improvisation, somatics, and economy of movement exercises would benefit from further development. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates; faculty.


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