By Joan Dexter Blackmer

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Extra info for Acrobats of the Gods: Dance and Transformation (Studies in Jungian Psychology By Jungian Analysts, 39)

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An acquaintance of mine who was a friend of two famous dancers once described an important difference he noticed between them. One was always himself, on stage and off. A great dancer, yes, but he and his role were identical. He was inflated by his identification with the gods. The other one did not succumb to this inflation. After a performance it would sometimes take him an hour or so before he could even speak; he was, as it were, still absent, so completely had he been at the service of the role he had been dancing.

Dance, too, has become enormously more popular in recent years. In Boston, for instance, where twenty-five years ago there was one small group of people working in contemporary dance as an art form and perhaps two or three ballet studios, now there are many studios 7 See M. Esther Harding, The Way of All Women, especially chap. " Page 16 teaching contemporary and classical dance, as well as jazz and ballroom. Not just for professional training, these studios cater to a large amateur clientele. Similarly, the number of performing groups has greatly increased.

16 For many, then, dance is an effort at healing, but one which, as Violette Verdy's mother sensed, includes the spirit as well as the body. Although many of the physiological aspects of training apply equally to classical ballet, my focus here, by and large, is with modern dancers, men and women who have followed the lead of the great innovators of the twentieth century: Isadora Duncan, Ruth St. Denis, Mary Wigman, Martha Graham, to name only the most important. These pioneers broke with the rigid constraints of classical dance to build a new art form; searching for ways to express contemporary experience, they created a new movement vocabulary.

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