Friday, November 17, 2017

News About "A Selection from the Sigurd Leeder Heritage," by Ann Hutchinson Guest

Submitted by Ann Hutchinson Guest - November 21, 2017

My book A Selection from the SIGURD LEEDER HERITAGE was published in time for the May 6th opening of the important Leeder Exhibition in Zurich. The book, available from Dance Books*, has a CD providing music for each of the Dance Studies. The next step is the production of a DVD illustrating the Leeder style for each of the Studies. This task is being undertaken by a Committee of former Swiss Leeder students, headed by Evelyn Rigotti.

The need to find younger dancers capable of mastering the difficult, less usual steps as well as embodying the wide range of movement qualities, was a challenge. The committee has been working on several of the Studies with three experienced dancers and sought my approval of the results. My October visit to Evelyn’s studio in Wattwil proved very rewarding. I was able to coach the dancers in certain aspects that they had missed, they were rewardingly responsive. They understood that arriving at a position, creating a picture, was not the aim; the movement just happened spatially to end there. Often it was a question of eliminating tension and allowing flow to be dominant.

For the remaining studies that had not yet been taught I worked with Jacqueline Keller, a slim 60 year old still moving beautifully. I would show her – as best I could – the movements and then, with her ability to read the notation, we checked through the score for clarification of specific details. With her wonderful positive attitude she was a joy to work with.

The Sigurd Leeder Exhiubition moves from Zurich to Appenzell near to Herisau where Leeder lived and taught during his last decades. The opening vernissage is to be on December 9th; on the 10th I will be giving a talk about the book, how it developed from my 1936-8 classroom notations which I had revived in recent years to the delight of present day students. They loved the range of space encompassed and the variety of dynamic qualities – very different from present-day classroom techniques. Aware that Leeder’s work is now so little known, I undertook to contribute to future generations by publishing a selection of contrasting Studies with a historical introduction, information on the dance curriculum at the Leeder Dance School, and with study and performance word notes to accompany each Study..