The Moment Of Movement (Paperback)

Dance Improvisation

By Lynne Anne Blom, L. Tarin Chaplin

University of Pittsburgh Press, 9780822954057, 256pp.

Publication Date: December 15, 1988

List Price: 32.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Dance improvisation, the intriguing phenomenon of the creative process alive in the moving body, exists powerfully, sublimely - lending insight, solving problems, allowing moments of transcendence, diversion, and delight.  Flourishing especially since the postmodern movement of the 1960s, it has come into its own in the performing arts.  While there are many books containing ideas for developing improvisations, few have tackled the difficult questions: “What is dance improvisation?”  “How does it work?” or “What is its body of knowledge?”

The Moment of Movement goes beyond lists of improvisations and into the heart of improvising.  As in their previous book, The Intimate Act of Choreography, the authors pursue both the philosophical and the practical.  They begin by examining the creative process as it applies to movement and especially the kinesthetic way in which the body knows and uses movement.  They answer the often unstated and pertinent questions of the novice; investigate the particular skills and traits needed by the leader; consider ways of working with specific populations; and provide challenging material for advanced movers.  They discuss the use of music, and the specific situation of improvisation in performance.  For leaders who want to design their own improvisations, they trace the evolution of an idea into an actual content and structure.  They also address the controversial issue of the legitimacy of improvisation in an academic curriculum.  A final chapter presents hundreds of improvs and improv ideas, grouped into units and cross-referenced.

The Moment of Movement is not tied to any one point of view.  The authors’ presentation of a broad range of material is flexible enough for use by choreographers, directors, educators, and therapists.  In its perceptive investigation of the experiential and conceptual aspects of dance improvisation, this book articulates the ephemeral.

About the Author

Lynne Anne Blom (1943-1993) was associate professor of dance in the Theatre Department, Northwestern University.

L. Tarin Chaplin (1941-2009) taught at universities around the world—in London,  Jerusalem, and Vancouver; at Penn State, the University of Montana, Goddard, Middlebury College (where she founded the dance major), and at SUNY Purchase (where she taught choreography at the Conservatory of Dance).

Praise For The Moment Of Movement: Dance Improvisation

The Moment of Movement makes dance improvisation accessible to both beginners and leaders, recommends formats for eliciting creative movement, and attempts to establish a common vocabulary of body awareness for an experience that is essentially non-verbal. This is an especially valuable book for teachers of special populations such as children, physically challenged, or special interest groups such as actors or athletes.”
—Dance Teacher Now

The Moment of Movement is an enormous amount of work on your behalf, and the behalf of the generations of students who will study improvisation in the future. The students who will use this book as a college text will benefit because to make a personal notebook from classes as extensive as is TMOM would take years. . . . [And] if you thought dance was ephemeral, notice publishing. It will be impossible to get a book like this when it goes out of print. You’ll go to libraries with larceny in your heart, only to find someone else stole it first.”
—Contact Quarterly

“A whole-person approach makes the book useful not only for dance educators, but also for therapists and for readers in other art disciplines. . . . The same satisfying blend of theoretical and practical information which won respect for the authors’ first book should make The Moment of Movement a basic resource in dance improvisation.”