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Jonathan Burrows: A Choreographer’s Handbook

A Choreographer’s Handbook invites the reader to investigate how and why to make a dance performance. In an inspiring and unusually empowering sequence of stories, ideas and paradoxes, internationally renowned dancer, choreographer and teacher Jonathan Burrows explains how it’s possible to navigate a course through this complex process.
It is a stunning reflection on a personal practice and professional journey, and draws upon five years’ of workshop discussions, led by Burrows.
Burrows’ open and honest prose gives the reader access to a range of exercises, meditations, principles and ideas on choreography that allow artists and dance-makers to find their own aesthetic process.
It is a book for anyone interested in making performance, at whatever level and in whichever style.

Biography

Jonathan Burrows danced with the Royal Ballet for 13 years, rising to the rank of soloist, before leaving in 1991 to pursue his own choreography. Since 2001 he has concentrated on one to one collaborations with other artists, who would share the conception, making, performing and administrating of the work. His first collaboration was Weak Dance Strong Questions (2001), made with the theatre maker and performer Jan Ritsema, which toured to 14 countries. This was followed by a series of duets with Matteo Fargion, beginning in 2002 with Both Sitting Duet, followed by The Quiet Dance (2005), Speaking Dance (2006). Cheap Lecture (2009) and The Cow Piece (2009). The two men have now given over 200 performances across 28 countries. Both Sitting Duet won a 2004 New York Dance and Performance 'Bessie' Award, and Cheap Lecture was chosen for the 2009 Het Theaterfestival in Belgium. Other high profile commissions include Sylvie Guillem and William Forsythe’s Ballet Frankfurt, and in 2008 he was Associate Director for Peter Handke's The Hour We Knew Nothing Of Each Other at the National Theatre, London. Burrows has been an Associate Artist at Kunstencentrum Vooruit in Gent, Belgium (1992- 2002), London’s South Bank Centre (1998/9) and Kaaitheater Brussels (2008 -). In 2002 he received an award from the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts In New York, in recognition for his ongoing contributions to contemporary dance. He is a visiting member of faculty at P.A.R.T.S, and is also Visiting Professor at Royal Holloway, University Of London, Hamburg University and the Free University Berlin. 'A Choreographer's Handbook' (2010) by Jonathan Burrows is available from Routledge Publishing.

Read more at http://www.jonathanburrows.info/

Contents

— Preface
— Dancing / Principles
— Material
— Habits
— Repetition
— Repetition
— Repetition
— Improvisation / Cut and paste / Choreography
— Form
— Exploration / Risk
— Subject / Inspiration / Stealing / Familiar movement / Choreography / Referencing other sources/ 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 / Philosophy
— 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 / Dancer or choreographer? / In it or out of it? /Who owns what?
— How can I simplify all of this?
— Forget all this
— Bibliography
— Thanks
— Biography of the author
— Index

Credits

Jonathan Burrows
A Choreographer’s Handbook
Translated by: Polona Glavan
Transformacije series, book no. 31
Series editor: Janez Janša

Published by:
Maska, Institute for Publishing, Production and Education,
Metelkova 6, SI-1000 Ljubljana; e-mail: info@maska.si;  www.maska.si
and
Republic of Slovenia Public Fund for Cultural Activities, Štefanova 5, 1000 Ljubljana; www.jskd.si

Original title:
 A Choreographer’s Handbook
© Jonathan Burrows, 2010
© For Slovene edition: Maska

Translation of the poem by Douglas Dunn: Marjan Strojan
Language editing: Mojca Hudolin 

Cover Illustration: Matteo Fargion (a part of the score for the dance movie Hands, 1995, Arts Council England/BBC)
Layout and pre-press: Vtis
Printed by: Cicero
Print run: 500
Ljubljana, 2011

12 EUR 



Events
— 22-03-2012 : A Choreographer’s Handbook - Discussion on the book
Knjigarna Konzorcij, Slovenska cesta 29, Ljubljana
Maska & JSKD