About the Book
“Clare Guss-West’s holistic approach to classical ballet seems like an idea long overdue. Interconnecting dancers with T.S. Elliot’s remark “They had the experience, but missed the meaning”, she is able to empower dancers to the potential energy they already have that allows dance to become a durable source of life energy rather than a dispersion of well-being… Her approach offers ways to link the latest trends in choreographic innovation to the essence of traditional dance forms as energetic transformations of the spirit.”Peter Lewton-Brain DO MA, President of IADMS
The Western approach to dance is largely focused on control and mastery of technique, both of which are certainly necessary skills for improving performance. But mindful attention, despite its critical role in high performance, has gotten short shrift – until now.
Attention and Focus in Dance, a how-to book rooted in the 20 years of attentional focus findings of researcher Gabriele Wulf, will help dancers unlock their power and stamina reserves, enabling efficient movement, heightening their sensory perception and releasing their dance potential.
Author Clare Guss-West – a professional dancer, choreographer, teacher and holistic practitioner – presents a systematic, science-based approach to the mental work of dance. Her approach helps dancers hone the skills of attention, focus and self- cueing to replenish energy and enhance their physical and artistic performance.
Here is what Attention and Focus in Dance offers readers:
- A unique approach, connecting the foundations of Eastern movement with Western movement forms
- Research-based teaching practices in diverse contexts, including professional dance companies, private studios, and programs for dancers with special needs or movement challenges
- Testimonies and tips from international professional dancers and dance educators who use the bookʼs approach in their training and teaching
- A dance-centric focus that can be easily integrated into existing training and teaching practice, in rehearsal, or in rehabilitation contexts to provide immediate and long-term benefits
The text is organised into two parts. Part I guides dancers in looking at the attentional challenges and information overload that many professional dancers suffer from. It outlines the need for a systematic attention and focus strategy, and it explains how scientific research on attentional focus relates to dance practice. This part also examines the ways in which Eastern-movement principles intersect with and complement scientific findings, and it examines how the Eastern and scientific concepts can breathe new life into basic dance elements such as posture, turnout and port de bras. Attention and focus techniques are included for replenishing energy and protecting against energy depletion and exhaustion.
Part II presents attention and focus strategies for teaching, self- coaching and cueing. It addresses attentional focus cues for beginners and for more advanced dancers and professionals, and it places attentional focus in the broader context of holistic teaching strategies.
Attention and Focus in Dance offers an abundance of research-backed concepts and inspirational ideas that can help dancers in their learning and performance. This book aids readers in filtering information and directing their focus for optimal physical effect. Ultimately, it guides dancers and teachers in being the best version of themselves and maximising their potential in dance.