Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Theme and Variations, by Ray Cook

Contributed by Ray Cook
Submitted by Charlotte Wile - January 7, 2014

A facsimile of Ray Cook, Theme and Variations: A New Concept in Learning, music of Johannes Brahms, choreography and notation by Ray Cook (1981) can be found here.  

For information about the music that accompanies the notation, see pages viii-ix in the book.

Note: Blank pages in the book have been left out in the facsimile.

Ray Cook describes the book as follows:
The usual method for teaching beginners to understand theory is to read small examples that illustrate theory - but that is all the reading does. I reasoned that even at the elementary level, more could be learned from reading. With this in mind I choreographed a compete dance loosely based on the Study Guide for Elementary Labanotation, by Peggy Hackney, Sarah Manno, and Muriel Topaz (1970). With the guide as the foundation for the choreography I choose a theme and variation as most suitable. (See also page iii in the book).
Each lesson is a complete dance that systematically adds new theory to that already learned.
The end result is a compete score that follows the format for a professional dance score. Included are casting information, glossary, costumes, lighting, and a few words of  inspiration from Brahms who composed the music. The theme and variations format provides an invaluable lesson in choreography. Readers can see and understand a craft for choreography, movement motifs being developed from lesson to lesson. To complete the process, the dance can be performed in the studio for invited friends.

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