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The Step Is the Foot: Dance and Its Relationship to Poetry

by Anthony Howell

Creativity Poetry

LoveReading View on The Step Is the Foot: Dance and Its Relationship to Poetry

This consummately fascinating study into the relationship between dance and poetry – the “step” of dance, and the “foot” of verse – presents a complex, intricate interlacing of disciplines. Dappled with personal anecdotes alongside probing evolutionary questions, historical depth and contemporary insights, it is at once thought-provoking and engaging.

The author’s experience as both a dancer and poet inform his unique investigation. He ascribes his long-held passion for both to a deep-rooted childhood awareness of rhythm: “Rhythm is common to both pursuits. Increasingly I have come to feel that dance is a language and that language is a dance.” I found the “Which Came First?” chapter especially compelling. The author’s exploration of humankind’s transition to bipedalism and language takes in fascinating linguistic and archaeological theories, and links the shift to bipedalism to the development of reflective thought, and to walking as an expressive activity. 

Suffused in spirited intellectualism and a global perspective, this is a must-read for anyone interested in poetry, dance and exploring the history of humanity through the lens of the arts.

Joanne Owen

The Step Is the Foot: Dance and Its Relationship to Poetry Synopsis

This inquiry into the relationship between the “step” in dance and the “foot” in verse invites the reader into a tapestry woven by its crossed paths. A duel career as a dancer and as a poet allows the author to follow his interest in the dance origins of scansion and link it to how the foot connects lyric writing to an “exiled sense” through the felt tread of its rhythm. This is to rediscover the physical feeling of poetry; the fulcrum of a relationship that goes back to the Greek chorus, when every phrase was danced. The author shows how verse and the dance emerged together, as we initially developed bipedalism and speech.

Written is a discursive style which allows the author to wander whenever digression seems appropriate, the book offers the reader an entertaining compendium of anecdotes, notions and quotes concerning the relation between our words and our movements.

Walking in itself may have ushered in predication —syntax—putting one word in front of another as one put one foot in front of another. Did song emerge separately from language and stimulate ritual dance among women who linked their steps to sounds? The link of speech with movement is explored in ancient art, in theatre and in military drill and psychoanalysis. From the ballet to performance art, the author traces the evolution of recent creativity—free verse finding a parallel in Mick Jagger dancing freely on his own in the ‘60s while performance artists used the freedom of conceptual art to explore “action phrases” linking task-orientated movement with verbal articulation.

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781903006122
Publication date: 30/06/2019
Publisher: Grey Suit Editions
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781903006122
Publication date: 30th June 2019
Author: Anthony Howell
Publisher: Grey Suit Editions
Format: Paperback
Genres: Creativity, Poetry,
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About Anthony Howell

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