The University of Wisconsin Press



Directing the Dance Legacy of Doris Humphrey
The Creative Impulse of Reconstruction
Lesley Main

Studies in Dance History
Published under the auspices of the Society of Dance History Scholars

Directing the past for the future—how the great dance works of the twentieth century can be kept alive and meaningful in a contemporary context

Directing the Dance Legacy of Doris Humphrey looks inside four of Doris Humphrey’s major choreographic works—Water Study (1928), The Shakers (1931), With My Red Fires (1936), and Passacaglia (1938)—with an eye to how directorial strategies applied in recent contemporized stagings in the United States and Europe could work across the modern and contemporary dance genre. Author Lesley Main, a seasoned practitioner of Doris Humphrey choreography, stresses to the reader the need to balance respect for classical works from the modern dance repertory with the necessity for fresh directorial strategies, to balance between traditional practices and a creative role for the reconstructor.

Drawing upon her own dance experience, Main’s book addresses an area of dance research and practice that is becoming increasingly pertinent as the dancer-choreographers of the twentieth-century modern and contemporary dance are no longer alive to attend to the re-stagings of the body of their works. Insightful and thought-provoking, Directing the Dance Legacy of Doris Humphrey calls for the creation of new forms of directorial practice in dance beyond reconstruction. The radical new practices it proposes to replace the old are sure to spark debate and fresh thinking across the dance field.

Lesley Main is a leading European exponent of Doris Humphrey’s dance tradition, director of the Doris Humphrey Foundation UK, and principal lecturer on dance at Middlesex University.

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Modern, interpretive dance in blue and black

January 2012
LC: 2011015990 GV
200 pp. 6 x 9 28 b/w illus.

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Paper $29.95 s
ISBN 978-0-299-28584-5
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“This timely record of practiced-based approaches to restaging modern dance works contributes in valuable ways to the field of dance studies. Incorporating the theoretical, the methodological, and the practical, this study highlights the corporeality of the dance in relation to the history of staging, engagement, and bodies over time.”
—Dr. Sarah Davies Cordova, author of Paris Dances: Textual Choreographies in the Nineteenth-Century French Novel

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Updated October 25, 2011

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