Poetics of Contemporary Dance is a major reference work originally published in French and here translated by Sally Gardner. Its author, historian and critic Laurence Louppe, is renowned for her perception and insight. Drawing on the whole practical and theoretical heritage of modern dance and its pre-cursors and including discussion of works up to and including the 1980s, Louppe brilliantly and eruditely reviews the main "tools" of contemporary dance creation and thought: the body, weight, space, time, flow, breath, style and composition.
She also weaves through her analysis a remarkable vision of the broader historical and philosophical concerns and challenges specific to this art and its defining values. Rather than taking an objective, cognitive approach to her role as observer and critic, Louppe writes from an intimate place of attention to all of the contemporary dancer's resources and practices: from the 'pre-movement' when stylistic values are born invisibly in bodies, to the moment and location of performance and the encounter with a public. Thus her writing aims at touching as much as informing the reader. Poetics of Contemporary Dance is both a call and a testament to contemporary dance literacy.