The Motional Improvisation of Al Wunder  book cover
1st Edition

The Motional Improvisation of Al Wunder

ISBN 9780367771904
Published January 9, 2023 by Routledge
186 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The Motional Improvisation of Al Wunder takes readers on a journey through the life history, creative genealogies and unique working processes of one of the master teachers of Euro-American postmodern movement-based improvisational performance who has, until now, received scant critical attention.

The book offers a long overdue examination of the significant impact made by an important figure on grassroots movement-based improvisational performance in 1960s/1970s America and in Australia from the 1980s onwards. It revisits the work of groundbreaking New York choreographer Alwin Nikolais, with whom Wunder trained and for whom he later taught in the 1960s; covers collaborations with founders of ‘Action Theater’ Ruth Zaporah and ‘Motivity Aerial Dance’ Terry Sendgraff as part of the explosion of improvisation in San Francisco in the 1970s and tracks the consolidation of a unique pedagogy that would see hundreds of students learn how to map their performative creativity in Melbourne from the 1980s onwards. It conducts a fascinating investigation into the wellsprings of Wunder’s approach to improvised performance as an end in itself, covering teaching innovations such as his use of the Hum Drum, positive feedback, personal power sources and articulators. It includes valuable contributions from a number of ex-students and established Australian artists in dance, music and visual art who share the profound impact Wunder has made on their creative practices.

This book will be a valuable resource to movement/dance improvisation students and teachers at undergraduate and postgraduate level and independent artists drawn to movement improvisation as performance.

Table of Contents

Introduction  PART I: I wonder  1. Creative genealogies  2. Theatre of the Ordinary  3. The dancing drummer  4. Shifting place  PART II: Pedagogical foundations  5. Positive feedback and power sources  6. Developing a descriptive language  PART III: Structures  7. Basic, Necessary and Clarifying Articulators  8. The Four Modes: Pedestrian, Character, Caricature and Abstract  9. Four possible ways of entertaining an audience: Expertise, being beautiful or profound, humour and challenge  10. Word/body  PART IV: Lived experience  11. Beyond Wunder  Concluding note

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H.R. Elliott is a movement artist and educator who has performed and taught in Australia, Germany, the UK and the US. She has directed a large number of physical theatre projects and is currently an Affiliate at the University of Huddersfield in Yorkshire.