New Books by Three S.B. Dance Heavy Hitters

Artistic and Scholarly Meditations on Dance by Robin Bisio, Carol M. Press, and Katya Bloom

Choreographer and filmmaker Robin Bisio; teacher, scholar, choreographer, and performer Carol M. Press; and movement scholar and theater artist Katya Bloom have more than a passion for movement and dance in common — each is an author with a recently published book. And all three of these artist-scholars will gather on Wednesday, September 30, at 7 p.m. at Chaucer’s Books for a book-signing and moderated discussion of their work.

Your Flesh Shall Be a Poem: The Art of Plein Air Dance by Robin Bisio:

Robin Bisio
Courtesy Photo

Bisio’s book is a photographic journey through several of her outdoor dance works. Her site-specific pieces are direct collaborations with locations of stunning beauty: beach cliffs, low-tide waves, sand dunes, dusty high-desert roads, mountain caves, Lotusland pools, and creeks fed by snowmelt. The photographs capture Bisio’s exquisite dancers submerged, windblown, splashing in the surf, and otherwise shaping and being shaped by the natural world. Clearly, nature is Bisio’s most important muse, followed closely by the dancers she chooses for her work and followed just as closely by the power of the written word — Your Flesh Shall Be a Poem incorporates poetry complementary to the colorful images. Currently, Bisio is working on multiple dance film projects. Visit robinbisiodance.com to learn more about her work and to view some of her films.

Creating Dance: A Traveler’s Guide by Carol M. Press:

Carol M. Press
Paul Wellman

Press is a continuing lecturer at UCSB’s Department of Theater and Dance, an adjunct at Santa Barbara City College, and a passionate researcher into the intersections between dance, creativity, and contemporary psychoanalysis. Her book features personal narratives from 10 dancers, choreographers, teachers, administrators, and researchers who have devoted their lives to dance. Told as travelogues, these stories reveal the depth and breadth of what’s possible in that realm. Dance is “unpacked” far more than a performance-art form or a professional path. It’s a way to practice vulnerability and inhabit uncertainty (Teoma Naccarato’s “Recipe for a Dance Artist”); a way to hold cultural and personal experience within the body (John-Mario Sevilla’s “To Be a Lifer: Falling to Flight”); a way to “journal” through the body and to embody through writing and research (Press’s own “For the Love of a Question”); and a through line in a life dedicated to creative artistry (“Stages” by UCSB’s Christopher Pilafian). Six other stories from six additional movers round out Press’s collection.

Embodied Lives: Reflections on the Influence of Suprapto Suryodarmo and Amerta Movement by Katya Bloom:

Katya Bloom

Bloom was once a dancer and theatrical performer and is now a therapist, teacher, writer, and researcher. Her most powerful interests lie in study and teaching about the therapeutic potential of movement. Embodied Lives is built from a series of essays written by students of Javanese movement pioneer Suprapto Suryodarmo. “Prapto” is the creator of Amerta Movement, a practice that employs direct-guided experiences of physical movement to sensitize, integrate, and awaken the mover. It doesn’t involve any specific structures, sequences, or postures; it is a kind of “moving meditation” that uses the mover as the primary source of impulse and direction. Bloom recognized, over her years of studying Amerta Movement, how many people from varying disciplines were powerfully influenced by this work and gathered a group of 30 of Prapto’s students to write the essays that compose her new book. Even readers unfamiliar with Prapto’s work, but who are interested in these parallel streams of mindfulness, embodiment, and creativity in movement, will find plenty to engage with in Bloom’s lighthearted, expansive new work.

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Robin Bisio, Carol M. Press, and Katya Bloom will sign books and discuss dance as poetry, and embodiment and creativity as important aspects of a well-rounded life, on Wednesday, September 30, 7 p.m., at Chaucer’s Books (3321 State St.; [805] 682-6787, chaucersbooks.com).

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