The Improvisation Studies Reader

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Improvisation is a performance practice that animates and activates diverse energies of inspiration, critique, and invention. In recent years it has coalesced into an exciting and innovative new field of interdisciplinary scholarly inquiry, becoming a cornerstone of both practical and theoretical approaches to performance. The Improvisation Studies Reader draws together the works of key artists and thinkers from a range of disciplines, including theatre, music, literature, film, and dance. Divided by keywords into eight sections, this book bridges the gaps between these fields. The book includes case studies, exercises, graphic scores and poems in order to produce a teaching and research resource that identifies central themes in improvisation studies. The sections include: Listening Trust/Risk Flow Dissonance Responsibility Liveness Surprise Hope Each section of the Reader is introduced by a newly commissioned think piece by a key figure in the field, which opens up research questions reflecting on the keyword in question. By placing key theoretical and classic texts in conversation with cutting-edge research and artists’ statements, this book answers the urgent questions facing improvising artists and theorists in the mediatized Twenty-First Century.

Table of contents

Half Title
Title Page
Copyright Page
Table of Contents
List of figures
Prologue: Spontaneous Acts
Part 1 Listening
1 Improvised Listening: Opening Statements Listening to the Lambs
2 On Listening
3 Improvisation
4 Going Fragile
5 Music, Language, and Cultural Styles: Improvisation as Conversation
6 Deep Listening Meditations: Egypt (1999)
7 “Really Listening”: Original art, 30 x 44″, made live @ World Percussion Summit September 3, 2013
Part 2 Trust/Risk
8 Improvised Trust: Opening Statements
9 Improvisation
10 Afterthoughts
11 Thoughts on Improvisation: A Comparative Approach
12 Theatre of the Oppressed
13 Group Creativity: Musical Performance and Collaboration
14 Community Performance: Improvising Being-Together
15 “Paradise Now”: Notes
16 Chicanas’ Experience in Collective Theatre: Ideology and Form
17 Spontaneous Combustion: Notes on Dance Improvisation from the Sixties to the Nineties
18 Luminous Axis – Blade-form Panel (Graphic Score)
Part 3 Flow
19 Improvised Flow: Opening Statements
20 A Theoretical Model for Enjoyment
21 Keynote Presentation (Guelph) 2007 (Graphic Score)
22 The Impermanent Art
23 Improvisation and Ensemble
24 Theory of the Dérive
25 “All Aboard the Night Train”: Flow, Layering, and Rupture in Postindustrial New York
26 Writing Improvisation into Modernism
27 Stone Sketch (Graphic Score)
28 Essentials of Spontaneous Prose
Part 4 Dissonance
29 Improvised Dissonance: Opening Statements
30 Phantoms of the Other: Fragments of the Communal Unconscious
31 Bebop as Cultural Alternative
32 Happenings in the New York Scene
33 Other: From Noun to Verb
34 Playing Like a Girl: The Queer Laughter of the Feminist Improvising Group
35 Frozen Grand Central
Part 5 Responsibility
36 Improvised Responsibility: Opening Statements (Call and) Responsibility: Improvisation, Ethics, Co-creation
37 Gittin’ To Know Y’all: Improvised Music, Interculturalism, and the Racial Imagination
38 Kinship, Intelligence, and Memory as Improvisation: Culture and Performance in New Orleans
39 Swing: From Verb to Noun
40 OAAU Founding Rally
Part 6 Liveness
41 Improvised Liveness: Opening Statements Improvisation and the “Live”: Playing with the Audience
42 Liveness
43 The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
44 The Present of Performance
45 Time in the Place of Space: Dialoguing Improvisation with Pierre Hébert: Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Quebec, June 19, 2012
46 Improvisation and Theatrical Power: From Discipline to Refusal
Part 7 Surprise
47 Improvised Surprise: Opening Statements
48 Playing
49 Taken By Surprise: Improvisation in Dance and Mind
50 Seven Aspects of Spontaneity
51 Yoruba Play and the Transformation of Ritual
52 Play On: Collaboration and Process
53 Step Across the Border (DVD Liner Notes)
54 DJ
Part 8 Hope
Epilogue: Hope and Improvisation

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