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Anatomy of Performance Training

John Matthews

DOI: 10.5040/9781408183403

ISBN: 9781408184059

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We train because we are human and we become human because we train.

This is the surprising and original conclusion of Anatomy of Performance Training, in which John Matthews shows how training is a very human response to the problems of having a body and living in the world.

Using illustrative case-studies of professional practice, each chapter addresses a specific body part, offering a self-contained discussion of its symbolic and practical significance in the artistic, and commercial, activities of training. These anatomical case-studies are cross-referenced with other disciplines (such as sport, high diving, deep diving and artisan craft) to further expand our understanding of performance. Stand-alone chapters, ideal for reference, build towards an overall conclusion that the uniquely human practice of training is emerging as a new and pervasive ideology globally.

Ideal for readers seeking to understand the relationship the body has with the theatre and training, or for teachers looking for a new, innovative approach to performance, Anatomy of Performance Training is an accessible, original contribution to the philosophy of training for performance.

Extending his Training for Performance (2011), the author unpacks his thesis that the act of training is a human endeavor that everyone does because everyone is limited by “having a body.” The stories frame ethnographical, political, social, and psychological constructs to unlock aspects of the performer's anatomy … the book is an intriguing contribution to performance studies. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students, researchers, faculty, professionals. CHOICE

Matthews offers an insightful, engaging, and imaginative read that urgently questions the place of training, and its attendant implications and values, in the twenty-first-century theatremaking context. Theatre Topics