Dance Theory (Hardcover)
The history of dance theory has never been told. Writers in every age have theorized prescriptively, according to their own needs and ideals, and theorists themselves having continually asserted the lack of any pre-existing dance theory. Dance Theory: Source Readings from Two Millenia of Western Dance revives and reintegrates dance theory as a field of historical dance studies, presenting a coherent reading of the interaction of theory and practice during two millennia of dance history. In fifty-five selected readings with explanatory text, this book follows the various constructions of dance theories as they have morphed and evolved in time, from ancient Greece to the twenty-first century. Dance Theory is a collection of source readings that, commensurate with current teaching practice, foregrounds dance and performance theory in its presentation of western dance forms. Divided into nine chapters organized chronologically by historical era and predominant intellectual and artistic currents, the book presents a history of an idea from one generation to another. Each chapter contains introductions that not only provide context and significance for the individual source readings, but also create narrative threads that link different chapters and time periods. Based entirely on primary sources, the book makes no claim to cite every source, but rather, in connecting the dots between significant high points, it attempts to trace a coherent and fair narrative of the evolution of dance theory as a concept in Western culture.
Tilden Russell is Professor Emeritus of Music at Southern Connecticut State University. The Compleat Dancing Master (2012), his two-volume translation with commentary of Gottfried Taubert's Rechtschaffener Tantzmeister, received the Society of Dance History Scholars' de la Torre Bueno Prize Special Citation. He further explores early eighteenth-century German dance theory in Theory and Practice in Eighteenth-Century Dance: The German-French Connection (2017), and is co-author, with Dominique Bourassa, of The Menuet de la cour (2007). He has written and lectured on Taubert and his contemporaries, dance theory, the minuet and scherzo, and other topics in dance and music history, with articles published in Dance Research, Dance Chronicle, The Journal of Musicology, Journal of the American Musicological Society, Musical Quarterly, Acta musicologica, Imago musicae, Beethoven Forum, The New Grove 2nd edition, and elsewhere.