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Tracing the Materials of an Ephemeral Art Form

Choreographer Jacky Lansley has been practicing and performing for more than four decades. In Choreographies, she offers unique insight into the processes behind independent choreography and paints a vivid portrait of a rigorous practice that combines dance, performance art, visuals, and a close attention to space and site.

Choreographies is both autobiography and archive—documenting production through rehearsal and performance photographs, illustrations, scores, process notes, reviews, audience feedback, and interviews with both dancers and choreographers. Covering the author’s practice from 1975 to 2017, the book delves into an important period of change in contemporary British dance—exploring British New Dance, postmodern dance, and experimental dance outside of a canonical US context. A critically engaged reflection that focuses on artistic process over finished product, Choreographies is a much-needed resource in the fields of dance and choreographic art making.

256 pages | 90 halftones | 7 x 9 | © 2017

Art: Art--General Studies

Culture Studies

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“[A]n invaluable resource for dance and art historians with its documentation of British New Dance and postmodern dance. Artists of all genres will draw inspiration from the author’s unique process as she details how she builds a concept from start to finish and traces her history through the years as a choreographer, filmmaker, and artist.”

Journal of Dance Education

"Lansley seeks to make accessible the choreographic act via examination/exposition of the tools, approaches, and materials she and her numerous colleagues have utilized during that span.  Those seeking a connection with the concept of “dancer-citizen” may trace Lansley’s deliberative selection of works, and read them as inflected by “the changing cultural and social forces that have influenced me” over these years.... Copious photos, original notes, diagrams and illustrations round out a wide-ranging and meticulously detailed description of a very individual process and oeuvre, one which may be read for insight into any of the various aspects of dance practice, including an engagement with social concerns."

The Dancer-Citizen

"While it is a remarkable and personal account of a lifetime’s commitment to making work, it also provides a valuable insight into the independent dance sector, in particular the movement known as ‘New Dance’. For dance students seeking to research and understand this point of dance history this is particularly valuable, as it provides not only a historical reference but also a practical link to their choreographic studies and the age-old question ‘How do artists make work’? From this point of view it becomes a very valuable resources for students and lecturers alike to share thoughts on the British dance movement and creative practice."

Rosie Lehan, IRIE! Dance Theatre

"[...] it is not a book to be read and left to brood on a shelf but should be consulted regularly like a chiropractor. Reminding us that there can be no critical engagement with an art form that does not provoke a critical dialogue, Lansley’s voice makes an eloquent case for a written choreography that can be expressed and read as a counterpoint to the readily accessible product of a gradual shift to social conservatism. Choreographies is a timely call to arms that recognises choreography, in the words of critic and dance historian Laurence Louppe, as one of the most important artistic phenomena of our time."

Nicholas Minns, Writing About Dance

"What is refreshing is that Lansley encapsulates interdisciplinary and site-specific performance, and a range of collaborative endeavour with artists she has worked with. Equally, she provides us with historical insights through personal stories, interviews with artists, pictures, journal notes, and all the challenges and tensions of being an experimental dance artist."

Rachel Clements | New Theatre Quarterly Book Reviews

“Lansley has written about her trajectory as an independent artist over four decades and at last there is some much needed information provided by someone who has been immersed in experimental dance within the UK. Since the early 1970s, when she was a founder of the seminal X6 Dance Space, Lansley has maintained a unique thread of activity rising from that period and continuing for the next generations of artists to relate to. I think of her as someone who has been involved in the questions that have helped to shape dance practice in Britain. Politically and artistically her research and performance have understood the strengths and responsibilities of dance as an art form.”

Siobhan Davies CBE, choreographer and founder of Siobhan Davies Dance

“Drawing upon decades of experience and enquiry, Lansley shares her expanded sense of choreography—or rather, choreographies—as spaces that hold the traces of many areas: other art forms, histories both personal and political, training, processes of research, and creation. Lansley has written Choreographies as a kind of ‘open book’—open to other fields, to varying voices, open to reading.”

Sanjoy Roy, dance writer (The Guardian)

“Lansley’s significant insights into the working processes of choreographic practices and collaboration are an invaluable contribution to dance, drawing on her rich experience over four decades of working with cross art form strategies as a choreographer and writer.”

Christy Adair, professor emerita, York St. John University

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