Review Of "Hiking The Horizontal: Field Notes From A Choreographer" By L. Lerman

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This is Lerman's third book--after Teaching Dance to Senior Adults (1984) and Liz Lerman's Critical Response Process (2003). Unlike its predecessors, it does not focus on tools for teaching dance. Here Lerman (founding artistic director of Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, "a contemporary dance company that features a multigenerational ensemble of performer/collaborators") reflects on her 30-plus years as a nationally recognized choreographer, performer, teacher, community builder, activist, and company director. The title and subtitle are apt: in writing, Lerman takes her cue from the journals and field notes many artists and anthropologists employ. These are, by nature, nonhierarchical. Lerman suggests that readers enter the book in a nonlinear fashion, pursuing pathways and particular questions as they seem relevant. Still, when read beginning to end, the book reveals a chronology as threads accumulate. The strengths of this book lie in its broad reach and in Lerman's capacity to share nuanced learning in conversational language. She investigates numerous creative processes central to making, working, and living in various professional and personal communities. "Hiking" with wisdom and humility across the horizon of these years, she manages, nonetheless, to dig deeply. Includes a chronology of dances, numerous black-and-white photos, and a helpful index. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers.


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