This collection of classic and new writings on dance improvisation brings together 21 essays by prominent dancers, scholars and historians. Until now, discussion of improvisation in dance has focused mainly on the postmodern form known as contact improv. Taken by Surprise reflects the development of improvisation as a compositional and performance mode in a wide variety of dance contexts, including dance traditions from around the globe, such as Yoruban masked dance, Indian Bharatanatyam and flamenco. The book also includes a thoughtful look at computer-aided choreography, a discussion of recent innovations in tap dancing and a section on improvisation in everyday life. Combining primary sources with critical analysis, Taken by Surprise will serve as an indispensible companion to studio work in improvisation, and a much-needed supplement to twentieth century dance histories. CONTRIBUTORS: Ann Cooper Albright, Sally Banes, Bruce Curtis, Kent Despain, Margaret Thompson Drewal, Simone Forti, Susan Leigh Foster, David Gere, Raymond W. Gibbs, JR, Michelle Heffner Hayes, Carmela Hermann, Constance Valis Hill, Rachel Kaplan, Maura Keefe, Victoria Marks, Avanthi Meduri, Steve Paxton, Janice Ross, Karen Schaffman, Nancy Stark Smith, Ellen Webb, Ruth Zaporah.