The Last Guru : The Authorised Biography of Robert Cohan, Paperback Book

The Last Guru : The Authorised Biography of Robert Cohan Paperback


Robert Cohan is part of the pantheon of American contemporary choreographers which includes Alvin Ailey and Paul Taylor.

Like them he follows in the tradition of their teacher Martha Graham whose works were grounded in finding through dance a way to express the human condition, in all its forms.

This he has done in over fifty works, from early solos and duets to large group works which have been performed by contemporary and ballet companies around the world.

A distinguished teacher, choreographer and advocate for dance, he has shaped the lives of generations of dance artists.

Robert Cohan joined the Martha Graham Dance Company in 1946 and left it 23 years later when he was invited by Robin Howard to become the first Artistic Director of the Contemporary Dance Trust in London and as such was the founder Artistic Director of The Place, London Contemporary Dance School and London Contemporary Dance Theatre, which he directed for over 20 years.

As director of LCDT he created many works for the Company in collaboration with leading composers and designers, including the classics, Cell, Stabat Mater, Forest and Nymphaeas. No one has had a greater influence on the development of dance in Britain than Cohan.

Having pioneered the teaching of contemporary dance technique in Britain, he was instrumental in the development of a vast following, not only for the repertory of LCDT but through his pioneering residencies held throughout the country, for the many other British companies which followed.

Without him there would be no Robert North, Richard Alston, Siobhan Davies, Lloyd Newson, Rosemary Butcher, Dharshan Singh-Bhuller, Anthony van Laast: the list could go on and include choreographers and dancers in every part of the world.

From 1980 to 1990 he acted as the Artistic Advisor to the Batsheva Dance Company and choreographed several works for them and the Bat Dor Company in Israel.

He has been continually in demand as a director of choreographic courses, notably the International Course for Professional Choreographers and Composers which he directed six times.

Since 1989 he has been working freelance and has choreographed ballets for Scottish Ballet as well as companies in Germany and Italy.

This book is based on extensive interviews with Cohan, his family, friends and colleagues. Drawing together his life in dance around the world, it provides the first in depth study of this seminal figure in the dance world.

The author: Paul Jackson trained in both music and dance and has worked in both subjects internationally.

He is a past Chair of the Standing Conference for Dance in Higher Education, the umbrella organisation for British university dance departments.

From 1997-2002 he was head of music at Northumbria University where he also founded both dance degrees.

He worked previously at the Arts Educational Schools, Islington Arts Factory, Central School of Ballet and at Walter Nicks' school the CFPD in Poitiers, France.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 404 pages, black & white illustrations
  • Publisher: Dance Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Individual actors & performers
  • ISBN: 9781852731625



Free Home Delivery

on all orders

Pick up orders

from local bookshops