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July 04 , 2007

The Improvisation Studies Reader

Spontaneous Acts


Improvisation is a performance practice that animates and activates diverse energies of inspiration, critique, and invention. In recent years it has coalesced into an exciting and innovative new field of interdisciplinary scholarly inquiry, becoming a cornerstone of both practical and theoretical approaches to performance.

The Improvisation Studies Reader draws together the works of key artists and thinkers from a range of disciplines, including theatre, music, literature, film, and dance. Divided by keywords into eight sections, this book bridges the gaps between these fields. The book includes case studies, exercises, graphic scores and poems in order to produce a teaching and research resource that identifies central themes in improvisation studies. The sections include:

  • Listening
  • Trust/Risk
  • Flow
  • Dissonance
  • Responsibility
  • Liveness
  • Surprise
  • Hope

Each section of the Reader is introduced by a newly commissioned think piece by a key figure in the field, which opens up research questions reflecting on the keyword in question.

By placing key theoretical and classic texts in conversation with cutting-edge research and artists’ statements, this book answers the urgent questions facing improvising artists and theorists in the mediatized Twenty-First Century.

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