Paul Jackson, Reader in Choreography and Dance, University of Winchester
"Valerie is a dance artist to the core and through her peerless writing, teaching and performing has transformed the world of dance."
She describes her travels taking dance all over the globe and collecting evidence across Europe of Laban's leadership of German dance in the 1920's and 1930's, work that the Nazi regime almost succeeded in annihilating.
The book traces her support of what is now Trinity Laban Conservatoire for Music and Dance, from being in its first cohort of students in a grubby studio in Manchester to being honoured as a Fellow in its Herzog and de Meuron award-winning building in South London.
Written from the heart
She is a bishop's daughter with a silver-spoon childhood and youthful traumas through the death of her father, wartime separation and teenage poverty. Valerie's meeting, aged sixteen, with the extraordinary Hungarian Rudolf Laban, guru of expressionist dance, set her on a life-long career devoted to questioning, championing and developing his initial insights into dance as a deeply significant art form for human wellbeing.
Her writing exposes her battles to integrate dance practice with dance scholarship in a world set up to keep them apart.