February New Dance books
Drawing the Surface of Dance: A Biography in Charts
Drawing the Surface of Dance: A Biography in Charts: GV1588.3 .P37 2019
Author(s): Annie-B Parson
Middletown, Connecticut : Wesleyan University Press 
Soloing on the page, choreographer Annie-B Parson rethinks choreography as dance on paper. Parson draws her dances into new graphic structures calling attention to the visual facts of the materiality of each dance work she has made. These drawings serve as both maps of her pieces in the aftermath of performance, and a consideration of the elements of dance itself. Divided into three chapters, the book opens with diagrams of the objects in each of her pieces grouped into chart-structures. These charts reconsider her dances both from the perspective of the resonance of things, and for their abstract compositional properties. In chapter two, Parson delves into the choreographic mind, charting such ideas as an equality in the perception of objects and movement, and the poetics of a kinetic grammar. Charts of erasure, layering and language serve as dynamic and prismatic tools for dance making. Lastly, nodding to the history of chance operations in dance, Parson creates a generative card game of 52 compositional elements for artists of any medium to cut out and play as a method for creating new material. Within the duality of form and content, this book explores the meanings that form itself holds, and Parson's visual maps of choreographic ideas inspire new thinking around the shared elements underneath all art making.
Dancing the World Smaller: Staging Globalism in Mid-Century America
Dancing the World Smaller: Staging Globalism in Mid-Century America: GV1624.5.N4 K68 2019
Author(s): Rebekah J. Kowal
New York : Oxford University Press 
Dancing the World Smaller examines international dance performances in New York City in the 1940s as sites in which dance artists and audiences contested what it meant to practice globalism in mid-twentieth-century America. During and after the Second World War, modern dance and ballet thrived in New York City, a fertile cosmopolitan environment in which dance was celebrated as an emblem of American artistic and cultural dominance. In the ensuing Cold War years, American choreographers and companies were among those the U.S. government sent abroad to serve as ambassadors of American cultural values and to extend the nation's geo-political reach. Less-known is that international dance performance, or what was then-called "ethnic" or "ethnologic" dance, enjoyed strong support among audiences in the city and across the nation as well. Produced in non-traditional dance venues, such as the American Museum of Natural History, the Ethnologic Dance Center, and Carnegie Hall, these performances elevated dance as an intercultural bridge across human differences and dance artists as transcultural interlocutors. Dancing the World Smaller draws on extensive archival resources, as well as critical and historical studies of race and ethnicity in the U.S., to uncover a hidden history of globalism in American dance and to see artists such as La Meri, Ruth St. Denis, Asadata Dafora, Pearl Primus, José Limón, Ram Gopal, and Charles Weidman in new light. Debates about how to practice globalism in dance proxied larger cultural struggles over how to reconcile the nation's new role as a global superpower. In dance as in cultural politics, Americans labored over how to realize diversity while honoring difference and manage dueling impulses toward globalism, on the one hand, and isolationism, on the other.
Merce Cunningham: After the Arbitrary
Merce Cunningham: After the Arbitrary: GV1785.C85 N65 2019
Author(s): Carrie Noland
Chicago ; The University of Chicago Press 2019.
One of the most influential choreographers of the twentieth century, Merce Cunningham is known for introducing chance to dance. Far too often, however, accounts of Cunningham’s work have neglected its full scope, focusing on his collaborations with the visionary composer John Cage or insisting that randomness was the singular goal of his choreography. In this book, the first dedicated to the complete arc of Cunningham’s career, Carrie Noland brings new insight to this transformative artist’s philosophy and work, providing a fresh perspective on his artistic process while exploring aspects of his choreographic practice never studied before. Examining a rich and previously unseen archive that includes photographs, film footage, and unpublished writing by Cunningham, Noland counters prior understandings of Cunningham’s influential embrace of the unintended, demonstrating that Cunningham in fact set limits on the role chance played in his dances. Drawing on Cunningham’s written and performed work, Noland reveals that Cunningham introduced variables before the chance procedure was applied and later shaped and modified the chance results. Chapters explore his relation not only to Cage, but also Marcel Duchamp, Robert Rauschenberg, James Joyce, and Bill T. Jones. Ultimately, Noland shows that Cunningham approached movement as more than “movement in itself,” and that his work enacted archetypal human dramas. This remarkable book will forever change our appreciation of the choreographer’s work and legacy.
A Guru’s Journey: Pandit Chitresh Das and Indian Classical Dance in Diaspora
A Guru’s Journey: Pandit Chitresh Das and Indian Classical Dance in Diaspora: GV1796.K38 M674 2019
Author(s): Sarah Morelli
Urbana : University of Illinois Press 
An important modern exponent of Asian dance, Pandit Chitresh Das brought kathak to the United States in 1970. The North Indian classical dance has since become an important art form within the greater Indian diaspora. Yet its adoption outside of India raises questions about what happens to artistic practices when we separate them from their broader cultural contexts. A Guru's Journey provides an ethnographic study of the dance form in the San Francisco Bay Area community formed by Das. Sarah Morelli, a kathak dancer and one of Das's former students, investigates issues in teaching, learning, and performance that developed around Das during his time in the United States. In modifying kathak's form and teaching for Western students, Das negotiates questions of Indianness and non-Indianness, gender, identity, and race. Morelli lays out these issues for readers with the goal of deepening their knowledge of kathak aesthetics, technique, and theory. She also shares the intricacies of footwork, facial expression in storytelling, and other aspects of kathak while tying them to the cultural issues that inform the dance.