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A Review of Dance: Rituals of Experience by Jamake Highwater - Download the Book Here


Dance: Rituals of Experience - A Book Review




Introduction




Dance is one of the oldest and most universal forms of human expression. It is a way of communicating, celebrating, healing, and creating meaning through movement. But how did dance evolve throughout history and across cultures? And what does it mean for us today?




Dance: Rituals of Experience download.zip



In this article, I will review a book that explores these questions and more. The book is called Dance: Rituals of Experience, written by Jamake Highwater, a renowned critic, author, and lecturer on art, theater, music, and dance. The book was first published in 1978 and has been revised and updated several times since then. It is now available in its third edition, published by Oxford University Press in 1996.


What is the book about?




The book presents a powerful view of the history of dance, contrasting its role in Western civilization with its significance in other cultures. Highwater links the history of dance to cultural forces as diverse as Karl Marx and Elvis Presley. He traces the origins of dance to the primal and ritualistic forms that expressed a fundamental life impulse made visible in motion. He then shows how dance declined into empty ceremonial forms in Western society, while it remained a vital and creative force in other parts of the world. He also examines the revival and transformation of dance in the 20th century, highlighting the contributions and influences of various dance giants and newer artists. He concludes by looking at the future of dance as a ritual of experience that can enrich our lives.


Who is the author?




Jamake Highwater is the author of over twenty books, including the award-winning Myth and Sexuality and The Primal Mind. He has lectured widely on art, theater, music, and dance at universities, museums, festivals, and conferences around the world. He has also written for many publications, such as The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Rolling Stone, The Village Voice, and The New Yorker. He has received numerous awards and honors for his work, such as the American Book Award, the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Rockefeller Foundation Grant.


Main Body




The history of dance and its role in different cultures




In this section, Highwater provides a fascinating overview of how dance evolved from its primal and ritualistic origins to its modern forms. He compares and contrasts how different cultures used dance to express their values, beliefs, emotions, and experiences.


The primal and ritualistic forms of dance




Highwater argues that dance is a natural and spontaneous response to life that emerged from our animal instincts. He says that dance was originally a way of communicating with nature, with other humans, and with the divine. He cites examples of how ancient and indigenous peoples used dance to celebrate, worship, heal, mourn, and tell stories. He also explains how dance was a way of transforming experience into metaphoric meaning, creating a separate reality that transcended the ordinary world.


The decline and revival of dance in Western civilization




Highwater then traces how dance lost its vitality and significance in Western civilization, especially after the rise of Christianity and the Industrial Revolution. He says that dance became a mere form of entertainment, spectacle, or ornamentation, divorced from its spiritual and social functions. He also criticizes how dance became rigid, formal, and hierarchical, reflecting the values of the dominant classes. He then shows how dance was revived and transformed in the 20th century, thanks to the efforts of various pioneers who challenged the conventions and norms of their time. He praises how these artists restored the expressive and creative potential of dance, making it a vehicle for personal and social change.


The cultural forces that shaped dance in the 20th century




Highwater then analyzes how dance was influenced by various cultural forces in the 20th century, such as politics, economics, technology, media, and popular culture. He shows how dance reflected and responded to the events and trends of the times, such as wars, revolutions, depressions, movements, inventions, discoveries, and icons. He also highlights how dance incorporated and adapted elements from other art forms, such as music, theater, film, literature, and visual arts. He demonstrates how dance became a diverse and dynamic field that explored new themes, forms, styles, and techniques.


The contemporary rites of dance and their significance




In this section, Highwater focuses on the current state and future prospects of dance as a ritual of experience. He showcases the diversity and creativity of modern dance artists and their works. He also emphasizes the importance and relevance of dance for our lives.


The diversity and creativity of modern dance artists




Highwater introduces us to some of the most influential and innovative dance artists of the 20th century and beyond. He discusses their backgrounds, inspirations, visions, methods, and achievements. He also compares and contrasts their approaches and contributions to the field of dance. Some of the artists he mentions are Isadora Duncan, Twyla Tharp, Robert Wilson, George Balanchine, Martha Graham, Alwin Nikolais, Erick Hawkins, Jose Limon, Merce Cunningham, Meredith Monk, Garth Fagan, Bebe Miller, and the Urban Bush Women. He also acknowledges many other artists who have enriched the world of dance with their diversity and creativity.


The expression and transformation of experience through dance




The future of dance as a ritual of life




Highwater concludes by looking at the future of dance as a ritual of life. He says that dance is not only an art form, but also a way of living and being. He says that dance can help us cope with the challenges and opportunities of the modern world, such as globalization, diversity, complexity, and uncertainty. He says that dance can also help us connect with ourselves, with others, and with the environment. He says that dance can inspire us to create new possibilities and meanings for our lives. He says that dance can be a source of joy, beauty, and wisdom.


Conclusion




Summary of the main points




In this article, I have reviewed a book called Dance: Rituals of Experience, written by Jamake Highwater. The book presents a powerful view of the history of dance, contrasting its role in Western civilization with its significance in other cultures. The book links the history of dance to cultural forces as diverse as Karl Marx and Elvis Presley. The book traces the origins of dance to the primal and ritualistic forms that expressed a fundamental life impulse made visible in motion. The book then shows how dance declined into empty ceremonial forms in Western society, while it remained a vital and creative force in other parts of the world. The book also examines the revival and transformation of dance in the 20th century, highlighting the contributions and influences of various dance giants and newer artists. The book concludes by looking at the future of dance as a ritual of experience that can enrich our lives.


Evaluation and recommendation of the book




I think this book is a great read for anyone who is interested in dance, art, culture, or history. The book is well-written, engaging, and informative. The book provides a comprehensive and insightful overview of how dance evolved throughout history and across cultures. The book also showcases the diversity and creativity of modern dance artists and their works. The book also emphasizes the importance and relevance of dance for our lives.


I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about dance or to appreciate it more deeply. I think this book can inspire and enlighten anyone who reads it.


If you want to get a copy of this book, you can download it from here: Dance: Rituals of Experience download.zip.


FAQs




Here are some frequently asked questions about the book and their answers:



  • Who is Jamake Highwater?



Jamake Highwater is a renowned critic, author, and lecturer on art, theater, music, and dance. He has written over twenty books on various topics related to art and culture. He has also lectured widely on these topics at universities, museums, festivals, and conferences around the world.


  • What is the main thesis of the book?



The main thesis of the book is that dance is a fundamental life impulse made visible in motion--a spontaneous transformation of experience into metaphoric meaning. The book argues that dance is a powerful way of expressing and transforming our experience in different cultures and times.


  • What are some examples of primal and ritualistic forms of dance?



Some examples of primal and ritualistic forms of dance are: the dances of hunting, fertility, initiation, healing, mourning, storytelling, worshiping, etc. These dances were used by ancient and indigenous peoples to communicate with nature, with other humans, and with the divine.


  • What are some examples of contemporary rites of dance?



Some examples of contemporary rites of dance are: the dances of protest, liberation, identity, diversity, creativity, etc. These dances are used by modern artists to express their values, beliefs, emotions, and experiences.


  • Why is dance important for our lives?



Dance is important for our lives because it can help us cope with the challenges and opportunities of the modern world. Dance can also help us connect with ourselves, with others, and with the environment. Dance can also inspire us to create new possibilities and meanings for our lives.


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