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Books on Choreography & the Creative Process

Choreographers learn best from other choreographers! But beyond careful viewing of masterworks on stage and screen, and putting in the creative hours in the studio, young choreographers can also turn to books to learn more about the process and art of making dances. While over the years a number of great books have covered choreographic subjects, only a few textbooks or manuals have survived the test of time.


Here are our suggestions.
We’re open to yours as well. Email us at to suggest other books you use:


Jean Georges Noverre
Letters on Dancing and Ballets
1760, Chez Aime Delaroshe
Multiple prints: 1760 – 2004
English version by Princeton Book Co.

Doris Humphrey
The Art of Making Dances
1959, Grove Press NY, Mutiple prints,

1991, Princeton Book Co.

Lynne Anne Blom and L. Tarin Chaplin
The Intimate Act of Choreography
1982-94, University of Pittsburg Press

Jacqueline M. Smith-Autard
Dance Composition
1976- 2010 , Methuen Drama Press , Great Britain
Five prints, including a new DVD


Twyla Tharp
The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life
2009, Simon and Schuster

Jo Butterworth (Editor),
Liesbeth Wildschut (Editor)
Contemporary Choreography: A Critical Reader

2009, Routledge


Melinda Buckwalter
Composing While Dancing:  An Improviser’s Companion Paperback

2010, University of Wisconsin Press

William Forsythe
William Forsythe:  Improvisation Technologies:  A Tool for the Analytical Dance Eye

Multimedia CD
2010, Hatje/Cantz, Germany


Liz Lerman
Liz Lerman's Critical Response Process: 
A Method for Getting .Useful Feedback on anything you Make, From Dance to Dessert

2003, Dance Exchange ©, 

Andrea Olsen
The Place of Dance:  A Somatic Guide to Dancing and Dance Making
2014, Wesleyan University Press,204,203,200_.jpgSandra Cerny Minton
Choreography: A Basic Approach Using Improvisation
3rd Edition
2007, Human Kintecs,204,203,200_.jpgPamela Anderson Sofras
Dance Composition Basics:
Capturing the Choreographer's Craft

Paper/DVD Edition
2006, Human Kinetics,204,203,200_.jpgLuis Ellfeldt
A Primer for Choreographers 

1967, Waveland Press, Inc,204,203,200_.jpgDiana F. Green
Choreographing From Within: Developing the Habit of Inquiry as an Artist

2010, Human Kinetics,204,203,200_.jpgLarry Lavender
Dancers Talking Dance: Critical Evaluation in the Choreography Class 
1996, Human Kinetics,204,203,200_.jpgJanice Pomer
Dance Composition

2009, Human Kinetics



Holly Shaw,
The Creative Formula: Compose, Choreograph, and Capture Your Masterpiece,

2016, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Jonathan Burrows,
A Choreographer's Handbook

2010, Routledge



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