Contemporary American Dance Theatre: Clarke, Goode and Mann

  • Theodore Shank


After two decades of American post-modern dances in which structure, abstract movement and kinetic energy were the principal content, we have entered a new era of expressiveness. The works of Martha Clarke are important examples of this new expressionism. However, she is not alone in making dances comprised of emotionally expressive images rather than formal ideas. Images imbued with emotional content are also important in the works of Pina Bausch and Susanne Linke in Germany, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker and the Need Company of Belgium, Maguy Marin of France, Parco Butterfly of Italy, Second Stride in London and even the butoh dance companies of Japan. In the United States companies that share Clarke’s emotive interests include two in San Francisco — Contraband, directed by Sara Shelton Mann, and the Joe Goode Performance Group. All of these dance companies use narrative (although fragmentary), character, expressive costumes, décor, lighting, music and language; in fact, they use whatever materials serve to express the feeling of living in their culture. Is it any wonder that much of their work expresses violence in one form or another?


Sewing Machine Expressive Image United States Company Modern Dance Dance Company 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Banes, S. (1987) Terpsichore in Sneakers: Post-Modern Dance (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press). An excellent discussion of the development of postmodern dance.Google Scholar
  2. Bartow, A. (1988) ‘An Interview with Martha Clarke’, American Theatre June, pp. 13–17, 55–7. The interview has also been published in Bartow, The Director’s Voice: Twenty-One Interviews (New York: Theatre Communications, 1988).Google Scholar
  3. Bausch, P. (1984) Pina Bausch-Wuppertal Dance Theater; or The Art of Training a Goldfish, Patricia Stadié (trans.) (Köln: Ballett-Bühnen-Verlag).Google Scholar
  4. Chopra, J. (1981) Martha Clarke Light and Dark, a film in collaboration with Martha Clarke, broadcast by PBS (Martha Clarke is shown developing dances in her studio for her company Crowsnest).Google Scholar
  5. Clarke, M. (1986) Vienna: Lusthaus, performances seen in the Newman Theatre, The Public Theatre, New York, 21 June (also at the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theare, Washington, DC, 16 Sep.).Google Scholar
  6. Clarke, M. (1987a) The Hunger Artist, performance seen at St Clements Episcopal Church, New York, 19 March.Google Scholar
  7. Clarke, M. (1987b) The Garden of Earthly Delights, video tape of a performance, 11 Dec.Google Scholar
  8. Clarke, M. (1987c) A taped interview with Theodore Shank. 19 Dec.Google Scholar
  9. Clarke, M. (1988a) The Garden of Earthly Delights, performances seen at Seattle Repertory Theatre, 15, 16 Jan.Google Scholar
  10. Clarke, M. (1988b) Miracolo d’Amore, performances seen in the Newman Theatre, The Public Theatre, New York, 23, 26 June.Google Scholar
  11. Clarke, M. (1988c) A telephone conversation with Theodore Shank, 28 June.Google Scholar
  12. Contraband (1989a) The (Invisible) War, performance seen at Theatre Artaud, San Francisco, 19 Feb.Google Scholar
  13. Contraband. (1989b) Religare, a site-specific performance seen at a site in a desolate area of San Francisco, 5 May.Google Scholar
  14. Curtis, J. (1989) A conversation with Theodore Shank, 5 May.Google Scholar
  15. Goode, J. (1989) Disaster Series, performance seen at Sushi Performance Gallery, San Diego, 20 May.Google Scholar
  16. Goode, J. (n.d.) Speak for Me, a video tape of the performance.Google Scholar
  17. Gussow, M. (1987) ‘Clarke Work’, The New York Times magazine, 18 Jan.Google Scholar
  18. Israel, R. (1988) Conversations with Theodore Shank, 20 June, 10 July.Google Scholar
  19. Kreemer, C. (1987) Further Steps: Fifteen Choreographers on Modern Dance (New York: Harper & Row).Google Scholar
  20. Mann, S. S., and Curtis, J. (1989) A taped interview with Theodore Shank, 16 March.Google Scholar
  21. Mee, C. L., Jr and Smith, A.(1987) ‘Martha Clarke’s Vienna: Lusthaus; Play Text and Photo Essay’, The Drama Review (T115) 31.3, fall, pp. 42–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Peaslee, R. (1988) A telephone interview with Theodore Shank, 28 June.Google Scholar
  23. Ross, J. (1989) ‘San Francisco’s Joe Goode: Working Hard to Be the Bad Boy of Modern Dance’, Dance Magazine, Jan., pp. 47–50.Google Scholar
  24. Shank, T. (1982/1988) American Alternative Theatre (London: Macmillan Press/New York: St Martin’s Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Shank, T. (1989) California Performance: Volume One/San Francisco Bay Area (Claremont, Cal.: Mime Journal).Google Scholar
  26. ‘Today’ session of ‘German and American Modern Dance: Yesterday and Today’ (1986) A symposium presented at Goethe House, Nov. 1985, The Drama Review (T-110) 30.2, summer, pp. 46–56.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Theodore Shank

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations