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A Choreographer's Handbook


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Table of Contents

Preface Dancing / Principles Material Habits Repetition Repetition Repetition Improvisation / Cut and paste / Choreography Form Exploration / Risk Subject / Inspiration / Stealing / Familiar movement / Referencing other sources/ Choreography / Self-expression Contract / Performance space / Language / Choreography Breaking The Rules Research / How and what? / Dramaturgy / Theory / Curiosity Interview / Unfinished business / Questions / Principles Financial limitations / Studios / Funding Applications Preparation / Rehearsal schedule / Heaviness Collaboration / Audience Originality / Paradox Technique / Parrot on your shoulder / Authenticity / Daily practice / Dancing / Style / Fiddling Virtuosity Hoarding / Beginnings Endings Keeping it going / Pacing Dub reggae / Rate of change / Simple material / Desperation Stillness and silence / Fear of being boring Minimal and maximal Does it work? / Showings / Mentoring Other bodies / States Distracting the self / Paradox / Choreography / Performance / Electric guitars Predictable and unpredictable / Expectation Narrative / Ballet / Continuity Continuity / Sectional pieces / Material / Make six things / Choreography / Flow / Relation Relation / Solos, duos, trios, quartets / Ideas Relation / Time / Rhythm Time Abstract dance Counterpoint / Formal elements / Difference Scores / Studios / Improvisation Chance / Empty hands / Gamut of movements / Limitations / Laborious work Place or space? Audience / Facing the front / Confrontation / Humour / Failure Audience Performance / Principles The marketplace / Earning a living / Administrating the work / Commissions Music / Collaboration / Silence Text Lighting / Technicians / Collaboration / Costumes / Shoes or no shoes? / Set design / Nudity Titles Filming / History / Collaboration / Mirrors / Human-scale Hierarchies / Who owns what? / Dancer or choreographer? / In it or out of it? How can I simplify all of this? Forget all this Bibliography Thanks Biography of the author Index

About the Author

Jonathan Burrows has toured and worked internationally as a dancer and choreographer. In 2002 he was commended by the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts in New York for his contribution to contemporary dance, and in 2004 he received a New York Dance and Performance 'Bessie' for his work 'Both Sitting Duet'. He has made commissioned work for many companies, including William Forsythe's Ballett Frankfurt, Sylvie Guillem and The Royal Ballet. He has been Visiting Professor at the Royal Holloway University of London and the University of Hamburg.


'It proposes clear, but simultaneously cryptic advices applicable to a broad church of performance and dance making-dilemas. Well worth ordering' - Tim Etchells, Artistic Director of Forced Entertainment

'The book covers thematic topics such as 'Collaboration', 'Material' and 'Mentoring' in playful ways, making bold statements but also cheekily suggesting that the opposite may also be true. It is a thought-provoking read, but also a useful manual on approaching performance for teachers, students and practitioners, that attempts to go beneath the layers of performing and making performance works.' - Emma Meehan, Dance Notes

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