Review Of "Rhythmic Subjects: Uses Of Energy In The Dances Of Mary Wigman, Martha Graham, And Merce Cunningham" By D. Reynolds

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Offering a fresh perspective on the concept of "kinesthetic imagination" and developments in modern and postmodern dance, Reynolds (Univ. of Manchester, UK) analyzes energy use in the works of pivotal choreographers Mary Wigman, Martha Graham, and Merce Cunningham. Her interdisciplinary approach employs Laban's effort/shape system describing dancers' energy use in relation to the "micro reality" of choreographic imperatives and the "macro reality" of sociocultural contexts. Chapters explore the ways these choreographers' uses of energy engendered specific dances and also reflected and critiqued the broader historical and ideological circumstances in which they choreographed. In discussing particular dances, the author builds bridges from her analyses to the ideas of such writers as Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Georges Bataille, and Julia Kristeva. A significant strength of the book is the dialogue it maintains between close readings based on the author's personal viewing of individual dances and broader commentary reflective of the writings of dance critics, poststructuralists, and relevant phenomenologists. Including extensive notes and a useful bibliography, this is a book for those interested in dance or culture, gender, or performance studies. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students, researchers, faculty, and professionals.


This work is freely available courtesy of Choice Reviews. The review has been reproduced in full in the abstract field.

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