Body and Earth: An Experiential Guide

Body and Earth: An Experiential Guide

by Andrea Olsen


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"Body is our first environment," writes Andrea Olsen. "It is the medium through which we know the earth." In a remarkable integration of environmental science, biology, meditation, and creative expression, Olsen, a dancer who teaches in the environmental studies program at Middlebury College, offers a guide to a holistic understanding of person and place. Part workbook, part exploration, Body and Earth considers the question of how we can best, most responsibly inhabit both our bodies and our planet. Olsen displays an easy command of fields as diverse as geology, biochemistry, ecology, and anatomy as she explores the ways in which our bodies are derived from and connected to the natural world. But Body and Earth is not just a lesson, it is also an investigation. Arranged as a 31-day program, the book offers not only a wealth of scientific information, but also exercises for both exploring the body and connecting with place; illustrations and works of art that illuminate each chapter's themes; and Olsen's own meditations and reflections, connecting the topics to her personal history and experience. Olsen insists that neither body nor landscape are separate from our fundamental selves, but in a culture which views the body as a mechanism to be trained and the landscape as a resource to be exploited, we need to learn to see again their fundamental wholeness and interconnection. Through hard data, reflection, exercises, and inspiration, Body and Earth offers a guide to responsible stewardship of both our planet and our persons.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780819579461
Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
Publication date: 01/07/2020
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 427,344
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Andrea Olsen is professor of dance and faculty member in the Environmental Studies Program at Middlebury College. Author of Bodystories: A Guide to Experiential Anatomy, she also performs, teaches yoga and creative writing, and offers workshops worldwide.

Table of Contents

Preface • Introduction • About This Book • PART 1 MOVING • Day 1 Basic Concepts • Dance is both universal and highly personal. • To Do: Orientation • To Dance: Familiar-Voice Dancing • To Write: Personal Orientation About the Tonic System • Studio Notes: Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen • Day 2 Attitudes • People have complex views about the dancing body. • To Do: Finding Your Calcaneus • To Dance: Opposite-Voice Dancing • To Write: Why Dance? • Studio Notes: David Dorfman • Day 3 Flow • Flow is our oceanic heritage. • To Do: Rolling and Pouring • To Do: Spherical Awareness • To Dance: Plumb-Line Falls • To Write: Letting Words Flow • Studio Notes: Kathleen Hermesdorf • Day 4 Fire • Sometimes we need fire. • To Do: Vessel Breath • To Dance: Dancing through the Body Systems • To Write: Fire and You • Studio Notes: Caryn McHose • Day 5 Getting Started • You can only dance where you are. • To Do: Three Long Walks • To Dance: Presentations • To Write: Creative Conditions • Studio Notes: Penny Campbell • Day 6 Training and Technique • We train for the unknown. • What I Look for in a Performer (Tamar Rogoff) • To Do: Hip Reflex • To Dance: Light-Touch Duets • To Write: Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses • Studio Notes: Jeanine Durning • Day 7 Embracing Mystery • Dancing involves surrender. • To Do: Breathing Spot • To Do: Three-Part Breath • To Dance: Refreshing What’s Needed • To Write: What’s Your Experience of Mystery? • Studio Notes: Suprapto Suryodarmo • Being Seen, Being Moved: Authentic Movement and Performance, Part I • Day 8 Looking Back, Moving Forward • Dance history comes in several forms. • To Do: Releasing the Jaw • To Dance: Dance One Artist’s Dance • To Write: Your Dance Story • Studio Notes: Nancy Stark Smith • Studio Notes: Teena Marie Custer • PART 2 MAKING • Day 9 Improvising • Improvising can be experienced on a continuum. • To Do: Freeing the Girdles To Dance: Dance Your Partner • To Write: Improvisational Mind • Studio Notes: Lisa Gonzales, Pamela Vail, and Michael Chorney • Day 10 Composing • Composition is arranging. • To Do: Four Movement Qualities • To Dance: Framing • To Dance: Composing with a Group • To Do and Write: Dance-a-Day Notebook • Studio Notes: Jim Coleman • Day 11 Choreographing • Choreography involves the why of a thing. • To Do: Contra-lateral Yield and Push • To Dance: Building Trios • To Write and Do: Concept-Driven Dance • Studio Notes: David Dorfman • Studio Notes: John Elder • Day 12 Visceral Movement • How do you know whether you’re moving or still? • To Do: Pelvic Floor • To Dance: The Antidote-to-the-Antidote Dance • To Write: Artist’s Statement • Studio Notes: Bebe Miller • Day 13 Rehearsing • The most stunning dancing happens in rehearsals. • To Do: Ball of Energy • To Dance: Body-Parts Duets • To Dance: Declarations • To Write: Reviewing Rehearsing • Studio Notes: Peter Schmitz • Day 14 Sound and Music • Ears are always open. • To Do: Resonance • To Dance: Dancing Twelve • To Dance: DJ Time • To Write: Music Journal • Studio Notes: Michael Chorney • Day 15 Space and Place • Space shapes the body, and the body shapes space. • To Do: Parallel Lines in the Sand • To Dance: Space Plan • To Write and Do: Gestalt Dance • Studio Notes: Chris Aiken • Day 16 Endings • Don’t abandon your ending. • To Do: Practicing Ending • To Dance: Calling End • To Write: Ending? • Studio Notes: Robert Swinston, on Merce Cunningham • PART 3 COLLABORATING • Day 17 Words and Feedback • Language shapes a way of thinking. • WIGO • Reinterpreting Butterflies • To Do: Watching and Writing • To Dance: Dance-Back • To Speak: Talking about Dancing • To Write: Performance Response • Studio Notes: Kate Trammell • Studio Notes: Deborah Jowitt • Day 18 Touch and Partnering • Touch and partnering involve a yield toward center. • To Do: Layers of Touch • To Dance: Landscapes • To Write: Touching and Being Touched • Studio Notes: Terry Creach • Day 19 Vision • Vision links past with future and communicates the present. • To Do: Expanding the Skull • To Do: Flowing and Forming • To Dance: Postcard Dances • To Write: Vision Statement • Studio Notes: Lisa Nelson • Dance, Place, and Video: Otto Ramstad • Day 20 Breath and Voice • Breath affects the phrasing and timing of movement and vocalization. • To Do: Resonance • To Do: Talking to the Floor • To Dance: Dancing Your Story • To Write and Present: Speaking Your Artist’s Statement • Studio Notes: Alex Draper • Day 21 Textures, Fabrics, and Costumes • Costumes are experienced as part of the body. • To Do: Costume Day • To Dance: Opposite-Voice Costumes • To Do and Write: Laying Out Possibilities • Studio Notes: Heidi Henderson • Day 22Dancing with Light • Light makes things happen. • To Do: Lighting Board • To Dance: Four Lighting Possibilities • To Write and Do: Light Your Dance with a Designer • Seven Questions to Ask Yourself • Studio Notes: Kathy Couch • Day 23 From Studio to Stage • Performance week is a time to focus. • To Do: Saying Your Name • To Dance: Rehearsal Coaching • To Write and Speak: Elevator Pitch • Studio Notes: Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen • Day 24 Performing • Performance invokes transformation. • To Do: Tuning Stillness and Moving Warm-Up • To Dance: Thresholds • To Write: What’s Your Relationship to Performance? • Studio Notes: Susan Prins • Being Seen, Being Moved: Authentic Movement and Performance, Part II • PART 4 LIVING • Day 25 Healthy Dancing • The nervous system governs our actions and reactions. •To Do: Imagining the Cortex Central Nervous System • To Dance: Dancing through the Nervous System, Part I • To Write: What’s Healthy Dancing to You? • Studio Notes: Stuart Singer • Day 26 Healing Dancing • Dancing and dance making create agency. • To Do: Embodying the Four Layers of the Nervous System • To Dance: Dancing through the Nervous System, Part II • To Write: Reflecting on Writing • Studio Notes: Paul Matteson • Day 27 Teaching Dancing • Teaching is learning. • To Do: Heel Foot and Ankle Foot • To Dance: Extending Your Range • To Write: Teaching Dancing • Six Composing Basics • Reviewing Ten Landmarks for Efficient Movement • Studio Notes: David Dorfman • Day 28 Dance and Yoga • Dance and yoga are longtime partners. • To Do: Articulating Eight Horizontal Diaphragms • To Dance: Preparations for Sun Salutation • To Do and Write: Savasana • Studio Notes: Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen • Day 29 Nature and Creativity • Body is Earth. • To Do: Place Map • To Dance: be-ing Score • To Write: An Experience in Nature • Studio Notes: Andrea Olsen, Art Making and the Environment • Day 30 Concerning the Spiritual • Dance is embodied spirit. • To Do: Three Contemplative Practices • To Dance: Sacred Space • To Write: A Sense of the Sacred • Studio Notes: Janet Adler • Day 31 Personal Project • Create your own chapter. • Acknowledgments • Notes • Selected Bibliography • Publication Credits • Subject Index • Art Index

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