Dance literature – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Dance Culture & Community Glossary

I. What is Dance Literature?

Dance literature is a form of written or spoken expression that captures the essence of dance through words. It serves as a way to document, analyze, and interpret various aspects of dance, including its history, techniques, styles, and cultural significance. Dance literature can take many forms, such as books, articles, essays, reviews, poems, scripts, and even social media posts. It provides a platform for dancers, choreographers, scholars, and enthusiasts to share their insights, experiences, and perspectives on the art of dance.

II. How has Dance Literature Evolved Over Time?

The evolution of dance literature can be traced back to ancient civilizations, where dance was often depicted in myths, legends, and religious texts. In the Middle Ages, dance manuals were created to teach courtly dances and social etiquette. The Renaissance period saw the rise of ballet as a formalized art form, leading to the publication of dance treatises and librettos. In the 19th and 20th centuries, dance criticism and scholarship became more prevalent, with the establishment of dance journals, magazines, and academic publications. Today, dance literature continues to evolve with the advent of digital media, online platforms, and interdisciplinary approaches to dance studies.

III. What are the Different Types of Dance Literature?

There are various types of dance literature that cater to different audiences and purposes. Dance history books provide a comprehensive overview of the development of dance styles, techniques, and trends over time. Choreographic writings offer insights into the creative process of making dances, including choreographers’ notes, sketches, and reflections. Dance criticism evaluates performances, productions, and works of art through analytical, interpretive, and evaluative lenses. Dance education resources provide instructional materials, lesson plans, and curriculum guides for teaching dance to students of all ages and levels. Dance biographies and autobiographies tell the life stories of dancers, choreographers, and other dance professionals, shedding light on their personal struggles, triumphs, and contributions to the field.

IV. How Does Dance Literature Impact the Dance Community?

Dance literature plays a crucial role in shaping the discourse, dialogue, and debate within the dance community. It serves as a catalyst for critical thinking, creative expression, and cultural exchange among dancers, scholars, educators, and audiences. Dance literature helps to preserve, promote, and propagate the rich heritage and legacy of dance as an art form, a social practice, and a form of human communication. It fosters a sense of community, camaraderie, and collaboration among individuals who share a passion for dance and a commitment to its continued growth and development. Dance literature also serves as a bridge between the past, present, and future of dance, connecting generations of artists, practitioners, and enthusiasts across time and space.

V. Who are Some Notable Dance Literature Authors?

There are many notable authors who have made significant contributions to the field of dance literature. Martha Graham, known as the “mother of modern dance,” wrote extensively about her pioneering choreographic techniques and philosophies. Doris Humphrey, a key figure in the development of American modern dance, penned influential essays on dance composition and performance. Merce Cunningham, a leading figure in postmodern dance, published books on his innovative approaches to choreography and collaboration. Jennifer Fisher, a prominent dance scholar, has written extensively on the intersections of dance, politics, and culture. Toni Bentley, a former ballet dancer turned writer, has authored memoirs, essays, and novels that explore the inner world of dance and its impact on the human psyche.

VI. How Can Dance Literature be Utilized in Dance Education?

Dance literature can be a valuable resource for dance educators, students, and practitioners at all levels. It can be used to supplement, enhance, and enrich the learning experience in dance classes, workshops, and rehearsals. Dance history books can provide context, background, and perspective on the evolution of dance styles, techniques, and traditions. Choreographic writings can inspire creativity, experimentation, and innovation in the process of making dances. Dance criticism can offer insights, feedback, and guidance on how to improve performance, interpretation, and presentation. Dance education resources can provide practical tools, tips, and techniques for teaching dance to diverse populations, including children, adults, seniors, and individuals with disabilities. By incorporating dance literature into their curriculum, educators can help students develop a deeper appreciation, understanding, and love for the art of dance.