Wednesday, June 11, 2014

"Unveiling Motion and Emotion"

“Unveiling Motion and Emotion”
writing by Anabella Lenzu
photos by Todd Carroll

Book review - June 11th, 2014

Contemporary dance and modern choreography are full of descriptors, labels and classifications: performance art, mixed media, post-modern, hybrid, collaborative genre, dance theater, performance installation, cross-disciplinary, multi-disciplinary, trans-disciplinary, interdisciplinary. Frankly, it’s a little hard to keep track. And this lexicon seems to expand every day – even the term ‘performer’ has suddenly become insufficient and has been replaced with ‘performancer’.

Anabella Lenzu’s new book “Unveiling Motion and Emotion” speaks to every sub-category in the preceding list; to anyone who is part of this dynamic and varied twenty-first century contemporary dance tradition. “Unveiling Motion and Emotion” addresses the generalities of being a dance artist today while still honoring the specificities and differences that exist within the field. With a collection of essays, Lenzu covers a range of topics – from how folk dance informs modern choreography to the roles and responsibilities of the teacher to the importance of dance history and dance pedagogy. And through each short discussion, her primary question remains clear: how can the current performing, teaching and choreographic processes work to serve dance as a larger entity.

So many dance books are deeply technical, overly historical or highly academic. Lenzu has chosen to map her unique journey as a dance artist through remembrances, recollections and reflections, making the work completely accessible and entertaining. “Unveiling Motion and Emotion” has the authenticity of a personal journal but because the subject matter is broad, it also appeals to the wider dance audience. Lenzu’s positivity is contagious, yet she does not shy away from the more serious issues and deeper questions facing dance and choreography today (including egos, insularity and inner doubt). “Unveiling Motion and Emotion” is a straightforward read (published simultaneously in Spanish and English), conversational and genuine – almost like you were chatting with the author over coffee.

For the most part, the writing is easy to follow, though some occasional abrupt transitions do interrupt the flow. And while Lenzu definitely delves into a host of different dance themes, there is a slight tendency to repeat sentiments and make similar observations in each chapter. All in all, Anabella Lenzu’s “Unveiling Motion and Emotion” is a refreshingly vulnerable literary statement, and a great addition to your summer dance reading list.

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