Proposal for an anthology of Conceptual Dance: Choreographic Comedies

This book collects the distinguished literature of physical performance that has never been realized. There have been anthologies describing dances that already exist, as well as libretti that were written to accompany choreographic premieres, usually in the form of program notes. Lincoln Kirstein speaks of the epithet dance as "the pretext which provides a possibility for an audience to suspend momentarily their natural expectation of logic, and accept the lyric super-logic of a ballet libretto." Never before has anyone tried to collect between a single set of covers such texts as Nam June Paik's "Crawl into the vagina of a whale," William Empson's "The Elephant and the Birds" (1942), E. E. Cummings' tom (based on Uncle Tom's Cabin), Remy Charlip's "Bound for Stardom," Ruth Krauss's "In a Bull's Eye," Edward Gorey ballets, Louis Ferdinand Celine's "Van Bagaden," Edmund Wilson's "Cronkhite's Clocks," Woody Allen's "A Guide to Some of the Lesser Ballets," and several texts by such Italian futurists as Mario Scaparro, Arnaldo Corradini-Emilio Settimelli, Francesco Congiullo (all of them already translated in Michael Kirby's Futurist Performance anthology that has been long out-of-print).

While my table of the contents is by no measure complete, I know from experience that if an anthologist begins with a clear concept (from which pretenders are easily excluded) and allows six months to hear about additional examples, the result will be a book. (It also helps to announce your project in such media as the New York Times Book Review and the Times Literary Supplement, as well as soliciting such likely contributors as Robert Wilson and Elizabeth Streb.) There should be an introduction in part about this intermedium between scenarios and conceptual art, but also about unrealized theatrical literature. Whatever length the publisher deems most appropriate shall be met. Any publisher wishing to consider examples of Conceptual Dance should contact the author.