This past week I had the opportunity to sit down with dance teacher, choreographer, and author Anabella Lenzu to discuss the development of her second book, Meaningful Gestures: Inner Thoughts and Outward Expressions. Anabella has been teaching younger generations of dance artists for over 25 years, and as she develops her creative process for writing her new book, she is bringing new depth to educating dancers.
Meaningful Gestures: Inner Thoughts and Outward Expressions is a companion to Anabella’s first book, Unveiling Motion and Emotion. While Unveiling was about Anabella’s inspirations, her highs and lows, stories of dance adventures, teaching methology, and insights, Meaningful Gestures will serve as a more direct educational guide for dancers as they discover their artistic path.
Anabella’s creative process for developing material for Meaningful Gestures displays her deep-rooted passion for educating people about dance technique and craft. Anabella has been engaging in thoughtful conversation with her students, discussing specific aspects of dance technique. This process of discussion allows for inquiry from the students. The students ask questions, Anabella answers them and together they use critical thinking to develop strong ideas. This process has been fruitful for centuries (just take a look at the ancient Greek philosophers) and is a beautiful way to impart knowledge today. As Anabella gleans from these conversations, she is able to write articles about the topics from a more personal and profound standpoint.
Anabella has written 32 articles since she began her process in October of 2014 and continues to write a new one every week and a half or so. These articles, which will later be divided into chapters, cover a myriad of topics and will aid young artists in finding their voice artistically and aid them in accessing their unique physicality. Anabella is working on visual aspects of the book this summer and is looking for models with different physiques, ethnicities, and dance backgrounds. Her husband, Todd Carroll, is supporting this portion of Meaningful Gestures, by photographing the models as they display various forms of dance technique. It is important to have dancers of different body types to display effective alignment regardless of shape, size and weight. Therefore, dancers of all backgrounds can relate to the material in the book. Further supporting the photography, Anabella is in search of an illustrator who will draw vivid diagrams of the muscles and bones, to provide imagery that is helpful for dancers to understand the inner support they are receiving from their bodies.
As Anabella continues to teach multiple dance classes a week, raise and entertain her two young children, as well as prepare her dance company for a premier of a new work this fall, the projected completion of Meaningful Gestures: Inner Thoughts and Outward Expressions is but two years away.
As a dancer myself and after reading Unveiling Motion and Emotion, I am looking forward to the completion of Meaningful Gestures. It will serve as a beneficial guide and reference, a continual resource, to deepen and understand the dancing body.
Article by Caitlin Thurgood (AL/DD Marketing/ Development Intern)