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The Body Eclectic

Evolving Practices in Dance Training

A discussion of current practices in modern dance training

This rich collection of essays and interviews explores modern-dance technique training from the past fifty years. Focusing on the culture of dance, editors Melanie Bales and Rebecca Nettl-Fiol examine choreographic process and style, dancer agency and participation in the creative process, and changes in the role and purpose of training. Bringing recent writings on dance into dialogue with dance practice, The Body Eclectic: Evolving Practices in Dance Training asks readers to consider the relationship between training practices and choreographic style and content. The contributors explore how technique training both guides and reflects the art of dance.

Contributors include Melanie Bales, Glenna Batson, Wendell Beavers, Veronica Dittman, Natalie Gilbert, Joshua Monten, Martha Myers, and Rebecca Nettl-Fiol. Dance professionals interviewed include David Dorfman, Ralph Lemon, Bebe Miller, Tere O'Connor, and Shelley Washington.


"Rich with anecdotes and a treasure trove of citations and references, this book will give dance teachers, scholars, graduate students, and dancers a fascinating read."--Dance Magazine

"Recommended."--Choice

"The book makes a welcome contribution to the field of dance studies and dance education, and it will be a valuable resource for Technique teachers in general, especially those working with dancers."--AMSAT News

A fascinating, timely portrait of a dance landscape that looks dramatically different from the one that existed when modern dance was in the earliest stages of professionalization.--Dance Chronicle

"Invaluable. . . . A rich resource for personal investigation that not only encourages but also offers a generative framework for developing ones personal agency and artistry during challenging times."--Dance Research Journal

"Dance teachers, choreographers, and performers need to be attuned to the evolving practices of modern dance in order to look toward the future. The Body Eclectic holds great historical significance for its documentation of the changes in dance training and technique and provides essential tools for us to assess what we have gained in our knowledge of the body, as well as what we may have lost in terms of our value systems during the past fifty years."--Donna White, professor and chair of modern dance, University of Utah


Melanie Bales is an associate professor of dance at the Ohio State University. An expert in Laban Movement Analysis, she is also a performer and choreographer. Rebecca Nettl-Fiol is an associate professor of dance at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, a choreographer, and an Alexander Technique specialist.

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