Improvisation On the Edge has been wanting to find itself on paper since everything began.

     From the age of three until now, I've lived half time in dance studios and the other half in the rest of the world. I have sat on meditation pillows in the US and Asia since age seventeen. I teach, direct, perform and write about physical theater improvisation. Improvisation, meditation and living in this world demand the same trickeries and tactics. Improvisation On the Edge traces this realization and discloses it's magic.

     I teach and perform nationally and internationally. I have written two books, one published by North Atlantic Books and is in its fifth printing and third translation. The other book is a self-published manual. There are two films about my work and a third, a portrait, is in the making. I have been a cultural envoy for the US State Department, received two fellowships from the NEA and an Isadora Duncan award. I have raised four children, mostly singly, and now live quietly in the desert of New Mexico. These bits of information refer to chapters of my life but it is the breath by breath, word by word, deed by deed, embodied moments within these chapters that have formed and filled this life.

     Improvisation On the Edge fall into several categories. Some recount events: doing improvisational shows in the war zones of Sarajevo and Kosovo, apprenticing with a Huichol medicine woman from Chiapas, understanding the concept of 'practice' while on a beach in Mexico, a bus ride in Cuba, a car ride in Estonia, and inner workings of onstage collaborations. Interspersed are chapters about awareness, listening, adapting, resiliency, time, space, silence, simplicity, all of these within the context of everyday life in a body. In several other chapters, I write from the logical yet nonlinear voice of the improviser, on stage, within the immediate embodied process.

     Even though the content of this book is drawn from my life experiences, this book is less about finding out who I am, and more about finding out what the world is and how to be available to it. Yes I've been in front of audiences since the age of three but running along side of this obsession has been another: figuring out how to be the audience of the world. With a shift of view, lifting the knife and fork becomes the same body that twirls across a stage, a conversation with a friend becomes no different than a monologue delivered under lights and pitching this book, the sun rising, and bowing at the end of a show share the same potential brightness as everything else in this world.

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All inquiries may be directed to, and Ruth's book, Action Theater, The Improvisation of Presence,
may be ordered from, ZAP Performance Projects, 1218B Ordway Street, Berkeley, CA 94706, USA
Tel: 510-990-8308

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