Kazuo Ohno, a Founder of Japanese Butoh, Dies at 103

from The New York Times obituary: Kazuo Ohno, a founder of Butoh, the influential Japanese dance-theater form whose traditional look of darkness and decay evoked for many the horrors of the wartime bombings of Japan, died on Tuesday in Yokohama, Japan. He was 103 and had continued to perform beyond his 100th year. Continue Reading Here.

Please visit the Kazuo Ohno Dance Studio.

Wesleyan University Press is proud to have published Kazuo Ohno’s World: from without & within.

Traces of Light reviewed in Dance Research Journal

A review of Ann Cooper Albright’s Traces of Light: Absence and Presence in the Work of Loie Fuller is found in the Summer 2010 edition of Dance Research Journal.

“Cooper Albright’s research method—an ‘embodied approach’—is dictated by her own career as a dancer and much ‘gut feeling.’ Her flamboyant appropriation of Fuller is physical as well as intellectual. The attempt at reconstructing, or more precisely, experiencing, the physical aspect of Fuller’s performances dictates her understanding and analysis of the choreographies. The exploration begins as we witness the performer slipping into the costume and preparing for the performance; this performer is Cooper Albright. … Kinetic knowledge opens a vital dimension that purely literary examinations of dance often miss or misunderstand.” -Marion Kant, Dance Research Journal, Summer 2010

Sensational Knowledge reviewed in the Journal of Asian Studies

“With Sensational Knowledge: Embodying Culture through Japanese Dance, Tomie Hahn has produced an extraordinary study of the complex ways in which nihon buyô, a form of traditional Japanese dance, is transmitted and translated between bodies. Hahn mines her lifelong experience as a dancer in the Tachibana school as a means of exploring how culture comes to be embodied, refigured, and passed on through this art form. Her thoughtful analyses build from this lived experience as the ground upon which the cogent, meticulous, narrations that she develops can inform the reader most clearly, and signify with the utmost richness and intensity.”
Journal of Asian Studies, Volume 69,  Issue 1

Jane Sherman (1908-2010)

Jane Sherman was born on June 14, 1908 in Beloit, Wisconsin, the daughter of advertising writer Horace Humphrey Sherman and opera singer Florentine St. Clair Sherman. Her formal dance studies began at the age of thirteen, after the family had moved to New York and she saw Ruth St. Denis perform the Brahms Waltz and Liebestraum at Carnegie Hall. Just after graduating from high school, she toured the Far East with Ruth St. Denis, Ted Shawn and the Denishawn Dancers in 1925-26. Her diaries from that journey would later form the core of her award-winning book, Soaring. She toured with the Ziegfeld Follies in 1927-28 and was a member of the first Humphrey-Weidman Company in 1928. She performed in a number of Broadway productions in the 1920s, including the third Garrick Gaieties, 9:15 Revue and Hello, Daddy, and danced with the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes in 1934-35.

Sherman’s writing talents were first employed when she was fiction editor for Seventeen magazine in the mid-1940s, and she wrote a number of children’s books in the 1950s. With the publication of Soaring: The Diary and Letters of a Denishawn Dancer in the Far East, 1925-1926, which won the prestigious De La Torre Bueno Prize in 1975, she embarked upon an active career writing about Denishawn and staging the works of Ted Shawn and Ruth St. Denis for performance. With the Denishawn Repertory Dancers (which she co-founded) and the Vanaver Caravan, she revived many forgotten Denishawn works which were seen at Jacob’s Pillow, at the 1990 Lyon Biennale Festival, and at other venues throughout the world. She also rehearsed Denishawn works for the Martha Graham Dance Company and coached Cynthia Gregory in the St. Denis work that had first inspired her to dance. Sherman’s dance books include The Drama of Denishawn Dance, Denishawn: The Enduring Influence, and Barton Mumaw, Dancer, which she co-wrote with Mumaw.

Sherman married composer and science teacher Ned Lehac in 1940, and they retired together to the Actors Fund Home in Englewood, New Jersey in the 1990s. Since moving to Englewood, she wrote two books of poetry, Songs of Senescence and A Bestiary of Poems, the most recent of which was published when she was 99. Lehac died several years ago at the Actors Fund Home, where Sherman passed away peacefully on March 16, 2010, at the age of 101. A memorial celebration will be scheduled for the summer.

(courtesy of Norton Owen, Director of Preservation, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival)

Jane Sherman (1908-2010)

Martha Hill reviewed in Dance Teacher magazine

Martha Hill and the Making of American Dance, by Janet Mansfield Soares,  was reviewed in the February issue of Dance Teacher magazine.

“In a nutshell: A lively portrait of Martha Hill’s formative role in modern dance in the United States. Martha Hill’s story as a catalyst in the development of American contemporary dance is often overshadowed by the likes of Martha Graham and Doris Humphrey. But author Janet Mansfield Soares does justice to the often unsung heroine by shedding light on her struggles and dedication to turning the artform into a serious area of study.”

­­–Dance Teacher, February 2010

Martha Hill reviewed in Back Stage

Martha Hill and the Making of American Dance, by Janet Mansfield Soares, was reviewed in Back Stage magzine.

“One of the finest dance biographies I have ever read, Soares’ work represents the perfect blend of colorful and pertinent factual details and larger contextualizing ideas. I was amazed at how quickly I whizzed through the lengthy volume and how much I learned about a topic with which I was already very familiar. If you know little about Hill and modern dance, this book will introduce you to fascinating information. If you know quite a bit about the subject, it will captivate you even more.” -Lisa Jo Sagolla, Back Stage