1st Edition

Teaching Dance Improvisation A Beginner's Guide

By Matthew Farmer Copyright 2025
    170 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    170 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Teaching Dance Improvisation serves as an introduction to, and a springboard for the author’s theories, practices, and curriculum building of dance improvisation as a technique. By taking a similar approach to teaching ballet, modern, jazz, tap, or hip hop, this book supplies its reader with an easy-to-follow roadmap in order to begin building and incorporating dance improvisation into dance studios/classrooms and curriculums.





    Chapter 1

    What is Improvisation?


    Chapter 2

    The 10 Rules of Improvisation; Plus 1


    Chapter 3

    Rule #1 - There is No Right or Wrong…but Sometimes There is a Better Choice


    Chapter 4

     Rule #2 - Follow Your Impulse


    Chapter 5

     Rule #3 – Start with What You Know


    Chapter 6

    Rule #4 - When in Doubt, Go Back to the Beginning


    Chapter 7

    Rule # 5 - The Moment You Check Out, Someone Gets Hurt


    Chapter 8

    Rule #6 - It Takes a Village to Raise an Improvisation



    Chapter 9

    Rule #7 - The Hardest Part Isn’t Knowing When to Start; It’s Knowing How to Start


    Chapter 10

    Rule #8 - Everything You Need Exists in the World around You


    Chapter 11

    Rule #9 - Continual Movement In and of Itself is not Necessarily Improvisation


    Chapter 12

    Rule #10 - Be Wary of the Black Hole


    Chapter 13

    Plus 1 – Repetition is Comfort Food


    Chapter 14

    Additional Considerations and Concluding Thoughts


    Chapter 15

    Sample Class Curriculums





    Matthew Farmer is Chair of the Dance Department at Hope College and the Dorothy Wiley DeLong Endowed Professor of Dance. He is the former Co-Artistic Director of R.G. Dance Productions, current Co-Artistic Director of H2 Dance Co., and Co-Author of the book Introductory Modern Dance: A Teaching Manual. Matthew received his MFA from the University of Michigan in Dance Performance and Choreography, and his BA in Theatre and Dance from Hope College. Matthew was a company member of The Peter Sparling Dance Co., company member and Associate Director of LehrerDance, and has performed as a solo artist in the United States, Germany, Belgium, and the United Kingdom. Farmer’s choreography has been produced by college and university dance programs, professional dance companies, international festivals, theaters companies, dance competitions, and musical theater venues throughout the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Mexico, France, and Ecuador. As an educator, Matthew focuses on modern dance, contemporary dance, jazz dance, improvisation, partnering, and dance composition.