I love to dance and I love to read – an understatement, but it’ll do.
To combine both is a little bit of heaven and little bit of hell yeah. And it’s important to always educate yourself however possible. While classes and workshops are crucial, sometimes just an old-fashioned paperback can offer insights that will enlighten you and give you unexpected guidance. So when I find a great book, I’ll share it here with you.
Recently I finished reading Gestures of Genius: Women, Dance, and the Body by Rachel Vigier (1994, Mercury Press). It’s 200+ pages of theory and essays that reveal things that somehow I’ve known, but haven’t found the words for. Vigier shares the interviews she had with about 10 dancers; after a brief introduction to each, the dancer’s own voice tells her story of how she got started in dance, the difficulties she overcame, her own inspirations and more.
While in some of the essays, the editing could be a bit smoother (it’s easy to see where the Q&A stepped in), don’t let it stop you from picking up this book. One line from temple dancer Ritha Devi alone has stuck out in my mind: “…a dancer should treat her body just as a musician would treat his instrument.” What a revelation to me!
Other dancers offered ideas that are easy to relate to, and remind me that there are so many others out there with whom I have things in common. Sara Pearson wrote, “When I danced I had a direct link to the universe inside of me as well as a way of connecting to the universe outside of me. I could think more clearly, feel more deeply, communicate more directly.” Yes!
Let me know your favorite books! I have shelves of references, so keep your eyes open for future reviews and recommendations.
Til next time!