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Body Can Speak

Body Can Speak

Essays on Creative Movement Education with Emphasis on Dance and Drama

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Edited by Annelise Mertz. Foreword by Joseph Roach


E-book (Other formats: Paperback)
6 x 9, 48 illustrations


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About the Book

Movement is our first language, our universal language. Expression of body movement is the very basis of life as the nineteen contributors to The Body Can Speak: Essays on Creative Movement Education with Emphasis on Dance and Drama attest. Students use their bodies as an instrument of expression, and movement as medium; this means investigating space, energy, time, and motion in order to gain insight into these basic principles. At the same time they gain essential awareness of the self. Such work stimulates the senses and intellect, and develops a tangible new vision to satisfy the human need for aesthetic and artistic expression.

As editor of this collection, accomplished dancer and artistic director Annelise Mertz provides both an aesthetic appreciation for creative movement education as well as practical pedagogy for incorporating dance and drama into contemporary curriculum. Mertz has assembled here a definitive body of work from fellow artists and former students that speaks to the need to actively promote art as part of education.

The book gives voice to accomplished teachers, actors, dancers, directors, authors, and choreographers who share their experiences while they address creative movement education from preschool through college. Forty-eight photographs add an illuminating visual dimension to this wealth of stimulating ideas. The Body Can Speak provides a balanced and varied mosaic, with each essay offering evidence that creative movement education is vital for human development.

Contributors include Becky Engler-Hicks, Ruth Grauert, Anna Halprin, Joanna G. Harris, Margaret N. H’Doubler, Michael Hoeye, Murray Louis, Annelise Mertz, Jaime Nisenbaum, Carol North, Jeff Rehg, Shirley Ririe, G. Hoffman Soto, Emma D. Sheehy, Harold Taylor, Branislav Tomich, Dorothy M. Vislocky, and Joan J. Woodbury.


A recipient of the Missouri Arts and Education Council Award for Excellence in the Arts, Annelise Mertz is a professor emerita of dance at Washington University, founder and former director (for thirty-one years) of the dance division of the performing arts department. She is also founder and former artistic director of the St. Louis Dancers, for whom she has choreographed performances at the Edison Theater, the St. Louis Art Museum, New York’s Cooper Union, and the Akademie der Künste in Berlin, Germany. Before coming to the United States, Mertz was a professional dancer with the Jooss Tanz Theater, Berlin State Opera, and the Municipal Theaters of Düsseldorf and Darmstadt.  


The Body Can Speak: Essays on Creative Movement Education with Emphasis on Dance and Drama is a history of practice and belief that is up to date and in the proudest way, useful. . . . All of the essays are united by a common calling: to reevaluate the meaning of movement in our schools and communities.”

—Lisa Eck, Wake Forest University