Women in Dance: Choreographers, Dancers, Scholars

Line of dancers jumping together.

Continue the rhythm of celebrating women's history by exploring these works on the contribution of women in dance from trend-setting coreography to scholarship done some of our own Bruin scholars. 

All of these resources are remote and accessible through the VPN





Choreographing Empathy: Kinesthesia in Performance by Susan Leigh Foster (e-book)

Choreographing Empathy challenges the idea of a direct psychophysical connection between the body of a dancer and that of their observer. Foster shows how the observation, study, and discussion of dance have changed over time.



Risk, Failure, Play: What Dance Reveals About Martial Arts Training by Janet O'Shea (e-book)

Intertwines personal experience with phenomenology, social psychology, dance studies, performance studies, as well as theories of play and competition in order to produce insights on pleasure, mastery, vulnerability, pain, agency, individual identity, and society.



"Culture Creators and Interconnected Individualism: Rulan Tangen and Anne Pesata's Basket Weaving Dance" by Tria Blu Wakpa (e-article)

 Uncovers how the dance preserves and nurtures relationships with Indigenous peoples and practices.




Martiality, Not Fighting, Cheng-Chieh Yu (video)

Martiality Not Fighting follows a young Chinese dancer performing the role of conscientious objector. 



The Dance Claimed Me: A Biography of Pearl Primus by Peggy & Murray Schwartz (e-book)

Primus blazed onto the dance scene in 1943 with stunning works that incorporated social and racial protest into their dance aesthetic. Offers an intimate perspective on her life and explore her influences on American culture, dance, and education.



Pina Bausch's Dance Theatre: Tracing the Evolution of Tanztheater by Lucy Weir (e-book)

Weir offers a wide-ranging study of Bausch’s aesthetic and methods of practice, with case studies ranging from the beginning of her career to her final choreographies.



Life in Motion by Misty Copeland (e-book)

Misty Copeland makes history as the only African American soloist dancing with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre. An insider's look at the cutthroat world of professional ballet, as well as a moving story of passion and grace for anyone who has dared to dream of a different life.


Agnes de Mille: Telling Stories in Broadway Dance by Kara Anne Gardner (e-book)

This book explores the Broadway legacy of choreographer Agnes de Mille, from the 1940s through the 1960s. Her work as an activist contributed to revisions in dance copyright law and the founding of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, a theatrical union that protects the rights of directors and choreographers.



Anna Halprin: Dance-Process-Form by K. Kieser Verlag, Ronit Land, Ursula Schorn, and Gabriele Wittmann (e-book)

Anna Halprin is a world-famous theatre artist and early pioneer in the expressive arts healing movement. This book explores her personal growth as a dancer and choreographer and the development of her therapeutic and pedagogical approach.


The Concrete Body: Yvonne Rainer, Carolee Schneemann, Vito Acconci by Elise Archias (e-book)

Offering an incisive rejoinder to traditional histories of modernism and postmodernism, this original book examines the 1960s performance work of three New York artists who adapted modernist approaches to form for the medium of the human body. 


Howling Near Heaven: Twyla Tharp and the Reinvention of Modern Dance (e-book)

For more than five decades, Twyla Tharp has been a phenomenon in American dance, a choreographer who not only broke the rules but refused to repeat her own successes. This is the story of a choreographer who refused to be pigeonholed and the dancers who accompanied her as she sped across the frontiers of dance.


Through the Eyes of a Dancer: Selected Writings by Wendy Perron (e-book)

Through the Eyes of a Dancer is a nuanced microcosm of dance's recent globalization and modernization that also provides an opportunity for new dancers to look back on the traditions and styles that preceded their own.