A Handbook for Ecstatic Survival

"I have seen many marvels, and participated in many miracles."

I've been writing A Handbook for Ecstatic Survival.

When I first envisioned this book, I imagined having some broad, general advice to share
– but entering into it, I find that no generalizations are possible. As we have witnessed, generalizations can be dangerous to human life.

I began with the title Letters To A Young Dancer, hoping to describe the elements that constitute my life in dance and perhaps offer some insights to anyone who might wish to enter that maze. But the title A Handbook For Ecstatic Survival actually predates the conception of Letters ... for I recently found it in a 1973 journal.

At this age, I find that the dialogue of which I have the greatest need is the one I carry on with myself – these “letters” were perhaps to be messages to a younger self. Imagining the supposed pretext for these thoughts now, I have to wonder to whom they might be relevant. 

When I began it, perhaps 10 years ago, the prospect of ecstasy was somewhat stronger, both personally and in the world around me.

Dance of course is both the medium and the message, but also a window onto existence that the engagement in an artform gives.

The dancer can be instrument, performer, and creator. In music a singer could also be all three but the dancer has much more matter to deal with.

Dance as an artform requires many years of work - Martha Graham said 10 years.

It's not that you won't have mastered all the physical demands before that, but it takes 10 years to make a single gesture as your real self.

I have been writing this book of my experiences, thoughts, and reflections to share with the next generation of dancers and friends like you who are passionate about dance.

It has been an epic task, reading hundreds of journals, going through thousands of photographs, and choosing from the countless stories and images gathered over my Lifetime of work.  

The work is nearly done, and Michael Caplan is once again assembling dozens of images and texts into layouts. Our goal is to have the books ready for shipping in late November.

If you would like to receive updates, and be among the first to receive invitation to purchase when the books arrive from the printer, please add your name here. There is option to also join the ongoing DtDE email list if you'd like. Otherwise updates will only be sent regarding the development of A Handbook for Ecstatic Survival.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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