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Dance Composition

Dance Composition


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    Dance Composition: An Interrelated Arts Approach helps students investigate dance movement from a multidisciplinary perspective—something that no other dance text or package does.

    This interactive package contains a book, music CD, and companion Web site with these features:

    • 28 improvisational exercises that provide perspective on the shared characteristics among the arts for inspiration and motivation for dance making
    • 6 in-depth interviews and 24 arts connections that highlight artists from disciplines and cultures around the world
    • 3 independent dance projects that encompass numerous elements: music, composition, story adaptation, costumes and props, artist’s statements, and reflections on the creative process

    The exercises examine traditional and contemporary art forms from around the world and explore ways to physically interpret what is heard, seen, spoken, and emoted through movement experimentation. Through these exercises, students observe a concept, explore it by working independently and watching others, and reflect on it with others. They then create and present a choreographic work based on their explorations and reflections. The choreography is discussed in a final group reflection and personal journal entries in which students can document their findings for future use. The interviews and arts connections will expand students’ vision and appreciation of artistic commonalities that exist among dance, music, theater, visual arts, and literary arts.

    The music CD, which is bound into the book, contains original compositions that enrich dance exercises and movement exploration assignments. Created by percussionist and electroacoustic composer Barry Prophet, the selections cover a range of styles and dynamics, including rhythmic percussion, jazz, world music, minimalist soundscapes, and textural atmospheres.

    The illustrations and photographs in the book provide a starting point for artistic awareness of elements common among the arts. Many of these visual images are available on the companion Web site. To help students and teachers incorporate technology in their creative process, this Web site also provides access to music software, instructions on creating computer-assisted music, a journal entry handout for each activity, self-assessment handouts, and rubrics.

    No other art form interacts so pervasively with the other arts than dance. Dance Composition: An Interrelated Arts Approach will help students from secondary school through university levels create artistic work that inspires and empowers both performers and viewers.


    Text for students in dance composition, improvisation, and integrated arts classes at the college and university level. Also a reference for dance, physical education, music, theater, and arts education students at the secondary school levels.

    Table of Contents


    Part I. Dance and the Visual Arts
    Chapter 1. Shapes
          Exercise 1.1 Traveling Patterns
          Exercise 1.2 Symmetrical Motifs
          Exercise 1.3 Mosaics
          Exercise 1.4 Weaving and Unweaving Shapes
          Exercise 1.5 Traditional Brush Painting
          Exercise 1.6 Modern Painting Techniques
    Chapter 2. New Spaces
          Exercise 2.1 Landmarks
          Exercise 2.2 Dancing Shadows
          Exercise 2.3 Conceptual Dance for Alternative Spaces
    Culminating Exercise for Dance and the Visual Arts

    Part II. Dance and Music
    Chapter 3. Rhythm and Tempo
          Exercise 3.1 Heartbeats and Drumbeats
          Exercise 3.2 Clap Hands
          Exercise 3.3 Variations on a Theme
          Exercise 3.4 Playing With Time
    Chapter 4. Texture and Tone Color
          Exercise 4.1 Textural Exploration
          Exercise 4.2 Tonal Exploration
          Exercise 4.3 Found Sound
          Exercise 4.4 Turn Your Radio On
    Culminating Exercise for Dance and Music

    Part III. Dance and the Dramatic and Literary Arts
    Chapter 5. Emotions and Character
          Exercise 5.1 Emotional Exploration
          Exercise 5.2 Character Discovery
          Exercise 5.3 Clowning
    Chapter 6. Words, Thoughts, and Actions
          Exercise 6.1 Alliterations
          Exercise 6.2 Vowels and Syllabic Phrases
          Exercise 6.3 Soliloquy
          Exercise 6.4 Monologue
          Exercise 6.5 Dialogue
    Culminating Exercise for Dance and the Dramatic and Literary Arts

    General Arts Glossary
    Music Glossary
    About the Author
    Music Finder

    About the Author

    Janice Pomer has been performing and teaching in the fields of dance, music, and theater since 1976. Her performance work explores the ways in which modern dance can be integrated with other art forms. In 1983, Janice began collaborating with Barry Prophet; together they have created numerous touring productions incorporating modern dance, text, experimental music, found sound, and Barry's kinetic percussion sculptures.

    Janice teaches in schools, universities, dance studios, art spaces, and community centers in Canada, offering a variety of movement-based programs and workshops for dancers of all ages and abilities, from beginning youngsters to professional dancers as well as educators. She writes and designs educational programs and dance material for school boards and dance organizations, offering movement education for children and youth. In 2002, Human Kinetics released her first book, Perpetual Motion: Creative Movement Exercises for Dance and Dramatic Arts.

    About the Composer
    Barry Prophet is a composer, percussionist, instrument maker, and visual artist who has been creating unique sounds since 1979. His work has appeared in galleries, theaters, and concert halls in Canada, the United States, and Europe. Barry teaches experimental percussion and computer-assisted music programs to learners of all ages and creates sonically charged indoor and outdoor site-specific art.

    Sample Content

     Dance Composition Audio Clip #1  Dance Composition Audio Clip #2