Performing Arts

Before They Were Belly Dancers

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Dance in the Renaissance: European Fashion, French Obsession

Dance in the Renaissance: European Fashion, French Obsession

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Dance was at the core of Renaissance social activity in France and had important connections with most major issues of the period. This finely illustrated book provides the first full account of the pivotal place and high status of dance in sixteenth-century French culture and society.

Margaret M. McGowan examines the diverse forms of dance in the Renaissance, contemporary attitudes toward dance, and the light this throws on moral, political, and aesthetic concerns of the time. Among the subjects she covers are: expectations of dance; style, costume, music, and social coding; court dance versus social dancing; dance and the Valois dynasty; professional dancers, virtuosos, and choreographers; burlesque; opposition to dance; and dance and the people. Nearly one hundred illustrations, many of them rare, accompany the engrossing text.

DANCE ME A SONG: ASTAIRE, BALA

DANCE ME A SONG: ASTAIRE, BALA

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Dancer-choreographer-directors Fred Astaire, George Balanchine and Gene Kelly and their colleagues helped to develop a distinctively modern American film-dance style and recurring dance genres for the songs and stories of the American musical. Freely crossing stylistic and class boundaries, their dances were rooted in the diverse dance and music cultures of European immigrants and African-American migrants who mingled in jazz age America. The new technology of sound cinema let them choreograph and fuse camera movement, light, and color with dance and music. Preserved intact for the largest audiences in dance history, their works continue to influence dance and film around the world. This book centers them and their colleagues within the history of dance (where their work has been marginalized) as well as film tracing their development from Broadway to Hollywood (1924-58) and contextualizing them within the American history and culture of their era.

This modern style, like the nation in which it developed, was pluralist and populist. It drew from aspects of the old world and new, "high" and "low", theatrical and social dance forms, creating new sites for dance from the living room to the street. A definitive ingredient was the freer more informal movement and behavior of their jazz-age generation, which fit with song lyrics that poeticized slangy American English. The Gershwins, Rodgers and Hart, and others wrote not only songs but extended dance-driven scores tailored to their choreography, giving a new prominence to the choreographer and dancer-actor. This book discuss how these choreographers collaborated with directors like Vincente Minnelli and Stanley Donen and cinematographers like Gregg Toland, musicians, dancers, designers and technicians to synergize music and moving image in new ways. Eventually, concepts and visual-musical devices derived from dance-making would give entire films the rhythmic flow and feeling of dance. Dancing Americans came to be seen around the world as archetypal embodiments of the free-spirited optimism and energy of America itself.

FEUDING FAN DANCERS: FAITH BAC

Feuding Fan Dancers

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"Detailed, deeply researched, and compelling." --Chicago Tribune

Historian Leslie Zemeckis reveals the lost stories of Sally Rand and Faith Bacon--icons who each claimed to be the inventor of the notorious fan dance. Nearly one hundred years later, both women come alive again.

FOSSE

FOSSE

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Now the FX limited series Fosse/Verdon starring Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams with Lin-Manuel Miranda executive producing.

"Wasson is a smart and savvy reporter, and his book abounds with colorful firsthand tales." -- Janet Maslin, New York Times

"Fascinating . . . Wasson has taken complete control of his subject." -- Wall Street Journal

The only person ever to win Oscar, Emmy, and Tony awards in the same year, Bob Fosse revolutionized nearly every facet of American entertainment. His signature style would influence generations of performing artists. Yet in spite of Fosse's innumerable--including Cabaret, Pippin, All That Jazz, and Chicago, one of the longest-running Broadway musicals ever--his offstage life was shadowed by deep wounds and insatiable appetites.

To craft this richly detailed account, best-selling author Sam Wasson has drawn on a wealth of unpublished material and hundreds of sources: friends, enemies, lovers, and collaborators, many of them speaking publicly about Fosse for the first time. With propulsive energy and stylish prose, Fosse is the definitive biography of one of Broadway and Hollywood's most complex and dynamic icons.

"Spellbinding." --Entertainment Weekly

"Impeccably researched." --Vanity Fair

An NPR Best Book of the Year

HIPPEST TRIP IN AMERICA: SOUL

HIPPEST TRIP IN AMERICA: SOUL

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An authoritative history of the groundbreaking syndicated television show that has become an icon of American pop culture, from acclaimed author and filmmaker Nelson George, "the most accomplished black music critic of his generation" (Washington Post Book World).

When it debuted in October 1971, seven years after the Civil Rights Act, Soul Train boldly went where no variety show had gone before, showcasing the cultural preferences of young African-Americans and the sounds that defined their lives: R&B, funk, jazz, disco, and gospel music. The brainchild of radio announcer Don Cornelius, the show's producer and host, Soul Train featured a diverse range of stars, from James Brown and David Bowie to Christine Aguilera and R. Kelly; Marvin Gaye and Elton John to the New Kids on the Block and Stevie Wonder.

The Hippest Trip in America tells the full story of this pop culture phenomenon that appealed not only to blacks, but to a wide crossover audience as well. Famous dancers like Rosie Perez and Jody Watley, performers such as Aretha Franklin, Al Green, and Barry White, and Cornelius himself share their memories, offering insights into the show and its time--a period of extraordinary social and political change. Colorful and pulsating, The Hippest Trip In America is a fascinating portrait of a revered cultural institution that has left an indelible mark on our national consciousness.

Katherine Dunham: Dance and the African Diaspora

Katherine Dunham: Dance and the African Diaspora

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One of the most important dance artists of the twentieth century, dancer and choreographer Katherine Dunham (1909-2006) created works that thrilled audiences the world over. As an African American woman, she broke barriers of race and gender, most notably as the founder of an important dance company that toured the United States, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Australia for several decades. Through both her company and her schools, she influenced generations of performers for years to come, from Alvin Ailey to Marlon Brando to Eartha Kitt. Dunham was also one of the first choreographers to conduct anthropological research about dance and translate her findings for the theatrical stage.

Katherine Dunham: Dance and the African Diaspora makes the argument that Dunham was more than a dancer-she was an intellectual and activist committed to using dance to fight for racial justice. Dunham saw dance as a tool of liberation, as a way for people of African descent to reclaim their history and forge a new future. She put her theories into motion not only through performance, but also through education, scholarship, travel, and choices about her own life.

Author Joanna Dee Das examines how Dunham struggled to balance artistic dreams, personal desires, economic needs, and political commitments in the face of racism and sexism. The book analyzes Dunham's multiple spheres of engagement, assessing her dance performances as a form of black feminist protest while also presenting new material about her schools in New York and East St. Louis, her work in Haiti, and her network of interlocutors that included figures as diverse as ballet choreographer George Balanchine and Senegalese president L�opold S�dar Senghor. It traces Dunham's influence over the course of several decades from the New Negro Movement of the 1920s to the Black Power Movement of the late 1960s and beyond.

By drawing on a vast, never-utilized trove of archival materials along with oral histories, choreographic analysis, and embodied research, Katherine Dunham: Dance and the African Diaspora offers new insight about how this remarkable woman built political solidarity through the arts.

NATIVE AMERICAN DANCE STEPS

NATIVE AMERICAN DANCE STEPS

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This well-researched book provides details of the varied steps that certain groups of Native Americans have used to express their dance ideas - from skips, jumps, and hop steps, to an Indian form of the pas de bourrée. Similarities to Oriental dances, classical ballet, Spanish and Russian variants, and steps in other dance forms are also considered. Examples are given of Indian dance music, words, and descriptive sounds that accompany this music, and the choreography of certain typical Indian dances of the Southwest. Authentic illustrations by a Native American artist depict dancers, while outline figures characterize steps and postures. An inportant addition to the libraries of anthropologists and students of Native American culture, this classic will be invaluable to ethnomusicologists and choreographers.
The Many Faces of Josephine Baker

The Many Faces of Josephine Baker

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With determination and audacity, Josephine Baker used her comic and musical abilities to become a worldwide icon of the Jazz Age. This lively biography covers her outspoken participation in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, espionage work for the French Resistance during World War II and adoption of 12 children--her "rainbow tribe." The lush photographs, in-depth appendix, source notes and bibliography make this is a must-have resource for any student, Baker fan or history buff.

WORLD HISTORY OF THE DANCE

WORLD HISTORY OF THE DANCE

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This book is the most comprehensive history to appear before the public of the art which has been so fundamental an expression in every period of human history. It contains a discussion of the general types and characteristics of the dance, and also deals specifically with its forms and symbols from the Stone Age through classical antiquity, the middle ages, the 18th century, and the not so distant era of the waltz and polka, to the 20th century.