Jeromy Hopgood, the Michigan-based author and professor of Entertainment Design and Technology, has penned a second book on a subject near to his heart: Dance Production: Design & Technology by Focal Press (Routledge). This is the first book of its kind to be released in decades. "The goal of the text is to bridge the gap between the two groups who come together to create dance productions: dance artists and designers/technicians,” he says, “and to create stronger, more effective collaborations by better understanding the language and process of other artists." Hopgood, a long-time dance designer who comes from a theatre background, approaches the text as a dialogue for artists of all stripes to learn more about the methods and practices common to their fellow collaborators.
The book is comprised of three sections: Thinking Ahead, Production Areas, and Quick Reference. Part I covers essentials like collaboration models, pre-production planning, and understanding performance spaces. Part II is broken down into all of the production roles common to dance–lighting, sound, scenery and props, costumes, projections/media, and stage management. Each production area has two chapters devoted to them, the first being a primer to the design area and the second chapter covering the process of creating that design. Part III is a quick reference section featuring a chapter on dance terminology and one on theatre/stagecraft terms.
Overall, the tone of the book is open and approachable, inviting the reader to examine the ways in which creating a dance production differs from other forms of live entertainment. One of the strengths of the book is its inclusion of hundreds of full-color illustrations and stunning dance production photos. Hopgood has assembled a collection of photos from some of the top dance companies and artists around the world (Merce Cunningham, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Alvin Ailey, Alonzo King LINES ballet, etc.) and includes a wide variety of design examples running the gamut from academic productions to multi-million dollar productions at La Scala. In addition, the book includes dozens of interviews from professionals in the industry. These function as case studies that illuminate the collaborative process for choreographers, production managers, designers, and stage management alike.