1st Edition

The Nikolais/Louis Dance Technique A Philosophy and Method of Modern Dance

By Murray Louis, Alwin Nikolais Copyright 2005
    276 Pages 36 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This is the definitive resource for understanding and practicing the influential dance technique developed by two pioneers of modern dance, Alwin Nikolais and Murray Louis.

    The Nikolais/Louis Dance Technique is presented in a week-to-week classroom manual, providing an indispensable tool for teachers and students of this widely studied movement practice. Theoretical background for further reading is set off from the manual for those interested in deeper study. Their philosophy and methodology span a broad readership and offer an important addition to dance literature and American cultural history.

    Biography of Alwin Nikolais, Biography of Murray Louis, Introduction, SECTION I Definitions, Basic Dance, Vision of a New Technique , Decentralization , Grain , Gravity and Verticality, The Psyche, Stasis, Dynamics and Energies, Sensory Perception, Movement Range, Three Conditions of Energy, SECTION II Creating Improvisation and Composition, Defining Improvisation, Gestalt, Nature and Art , The Language of Criticism, Composition, SECTION III The Class Manual, Introduction to the Classes, The Body as an Instrument, The Dimensional Concept, Alignment, The Stretches, Up and Down Vertical The Plié, Across the Floor, Week 1 Locomotion and Dimensions, Week 2— Isolating Body Parts (Isolations), Week 3— Body Parts (Continued), Week 4 Levels, Week 5 The Joints and Joint Action, Week 6 Rotary Action, Week 7 Grain and Density , Week 8— Gravity and Upward Willpower, Week 9— Swing, Centripetal, and Centrifugal Momentum, Week 10 Undercurves, Week 11 Overcurves and Mirror Action, Major Principles of Dance (The Big Four), Week 12 Space Volume and Peripheral, Week 13 Time, Week 14 Shape, Motion, Week 15— Motion, Week 16— Abstraction, Week 17— Review Technique, Week 18 Realism to Abstraction, Week 19 Diagonals, Week 20 Circles, Week 21 Falls, Week 22 Suspension Points, Week 23 Percussion and Prop Extension, Week 24 Lyricism, Adjuncts to Choreographic and Performing Skills, Week 25 The Showing: Performance, Consonance and Summation, A Brief Review


    Alwin Nikolais and Murray Louis were collaborators for over forty years who transformed the world's understanding of dance theater. Nikolais, awarded a Kennedy Center National Medal of Honor in 1987, died in 1993. Louis wrote two previous books on dance as well as a monthly column for Dance Magazine. He has lectured and toured throughout the world, produced a series of dance videos, and continues to serve as artistic director of the Nikolais and Murray Louis Dance Company. He lives in New York City.