ETSU dance professor publishes new book | News

“Foundations for Performance Training: Skills for the Actor-Dancer,” a new book by East Tennessee State University faculty member Cara Harker, explores the physical, emotional and practical components of performance training. The book aims to equip readers with the tools needed to successfully advance in their development as artists and entertainers.

“The book has a dual purpose – as a teaching tool and as a resource for students,” said Harker, professor and associate chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance.

Each chapter provides a perspective on subjects that students of acting and dance courses encounter throughout their training as performing artists. Topics include mind and body conditioning for training, rehearsal and performance; developing stage presence and spatial awareness; and expanding repertoires and skill sets for performance.

This book, published by Routledge, also offers experiential exercises, journal writing prompts and assignments to engage readers and expand on the material described in each chapter. It presents analysis of the principles of both acting and dance and discusses how deeply the two art forms are intertwined.

“Everything in the book is informed by my experience as a faculty member here at ETSU, from working with students and directing shows to developing curriculum,” she said. “The book also contains numerous photos from ETSU Theatre and Dance productions.”

“Foundations for Performance Training” encourages a strong foundation in creative analysis, technique and artistic expression to cultivate excellence in performance.

At ETSU, Harker teaches musical theater dance, theater movement, jazz, tap, ballroom, aerial, improvisation and composition. She also serves as coordinator for the dance minor program.

The book can be purchased online at or Amazon. It is also available as an e-book on Taylor & Francis.

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