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Oxford University Press Inc
19 November 2020
Dance; Contemporary dance; Cultural studies
From its beginnings as an alternative and dissident form of dance training in the 1960s, Somatics emerged at the end of the twentieth century as one of the most popular and widespread regimens used to educate dancers. It is now found in dance curricula worldwide, helping to shape the look and sensibilities of both dancers and choreographers and thereby influencing much of the dance we see onstage worldwide. One of the first books to examine Somatics in detail and to analyse how and what it teaches in the dance studio, The Natural Body in Somatics Dance Training considers how dancers discover and assimilate new ways of moving and also larger cultural values associated with those movements. The book traces the history of Somatics, and it also details how Somatics developed in different locales, engaging with local politics and dance histories so as to develop a distinctive pedagogy that nonetheless shared fundamental concepts with other national and regional contexts. In so doing it shows how dance training can inculcate an embodied politics by guiding and shaping the experience of bodily sensation, constructing forms of reflexive evaluation of bodily action, and summoning bodies into relationship with one another. Throughout, the author focuses on the concept of the natural body and the importance of a natural way of moving as central to the claims that Somatics makes concerning its efficacy and legitimacy.
By:   Doran George (UCLA)
Edited by:   Susan Leigh Foster (Distinguished Professor of World Distinguished Professor of World UCLA)
Imprint:   Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 235mm,  Width: 156mm, 
ISBN:   9780197538739
ISBN 10:   0197538738
Pages:   248
Publication Date:   19 November 2020
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Doran George was on the Faculty of World Arts and Cultures at UCLA. Susan Leigh Foster is Distinguished Professor of World Arts and Cultures at UCLA.

Reviews for The Natural Body in Somatics Dance Training

The Natural Body is a long overdue and much needed investigation into the emergence and historical development of the broad category of practices known as Somatics . George's insights into Somatics as a simultaneous disciplining and liberatory physical practice, choreographic tool, and pedagogical intervention will be illuminating and important for artists and scholars alike. -- Clare Croft, Associate Professor of Dance & American Studies, University of Michigan Doran George brings a wealth of theoretical, kinaesthetic, and political thought to the impact of Somatics in contemporary dance. They do crucial work in undoing assumptions of Somatic training regimens and their influence on choreographic process. Through well-researched interviews and analysis, George does the long overdue work of de-naturalizing notions of individual autonomy and democracy in dance training and relationships between choreographer/dancer and performer/spectator. In highlighting how race, gender, and sexuality have been eclipsed by the force of Somatics within a contemporary transnational context, this book opens expansive, radical spaces for political and historical bodies to move in new ways. A groundbreaking book that will have a profound impact on the field. -- Jennifer Monson, Professor of Dance, University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign

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