Performing Arts

AMERICA DANCING: FROM THE CAKE

AMERICA DANCING: FROM THE CAKE

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An exuberant history of American dance, told through the lives of virtuoso performers who have defined the art

The history of American dance reflects the nation's tangled culture. Dancers from wildly different backgrounds learned, imitated, and stole from one another. Audiences everywhere embraced the result as deeply American.

Using the stories of tapper Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, ballet and Broadway choreographer Agnes de Mille, choreographer Paul Taylor, and Michael Jackson, Megan Pugh shows how freedom--that nebulous, contested American ideal--emerges as a genre-defining aesthetic. In Pugh's account, ballerinas mingle with slumming thrill-seekers, and hoedowns show up on elite opera house stages. Steps invented by slaves on antebellum plantations captivate the British royalty and the Parisian avant-garde. Dances were better boundary crossers than their dancers, however, and the issues of race and class that haunt everyday life shadow American dance as well. Deftly narrated, America Dancing demonstrates the centrality of dance in American art, life, and identity, taking us to watershed moments when the nation worked out a sense of itself through public movement.

Apollo's Angels:A History of Ballet

Apollo's Angels:A History of Ballet

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NATIONAL BESTSELLER

For more than four hundred years, the art of ballet has stood at the center of Western civilization. Its traditions serve as a record of our past. Lavishly illustrated and beautifully told, Apollo's Angels--the first cultural history of ballet ever written--is a groundbreaking work. From ballet's origins in the Renaissance and the codification of its basic steps and positions under France's Louis XIV (himself an avid dancer), the art form wound its way through the courts of Europe, from Paris and Milan to Vienna and St. Petersburg. In the twentieth century, émigré dancers taught their art to a generation in the United States and in Western Europe, setting off a new and radical transformation of dance. Jennifer Homans, a historian, critic, and former professional ballerina, wields a knowledge of dance born of dedicated practice. Her admiration and love for the ballet, as Entertainment Weekly notes, brings "a dancer's grace and sure-footed agility to the page."

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW - LOS ANGELES TIMES - SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE - PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

Before They Were Belly Dancers

Before They Were Belly Dancers

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Focusing on Egypt during the period 1760 to 1870, this book fills in some of the historical blanks for a dance form often known today in the Middle East as raqs sharki or raqs baladi, and in Western countries as "belly dance." Eyewitness accounts written by European travelers, the major primary source for modern scholars, provide most of the research material. The author shapes these numerous accounts into a coherent whole, providing a picture of Egyptian female entertainers of the period as professionals in the arts, rather than as a group of unnamed "ethnic" dancers and singers. Analysis is given of the contexts of this dance--that was a legitimate performing art form in Egyptian society appreciated by a wide variety of audiences--with a focus on actual performances--and a re-creation of choreography.
Catherine Littlefield: A Life in Dance

Catherine Littlefield: A Life in Dance

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While she is best remembered today as founder of the Philadelphia Ballet and the director and driving force behind the famous Littlefield School of Ballet, from which Balanchine drew the nucleus for his School of American Ballet, Catherine Littlefield (1905-51) and her oeuvre were in many ways
emblematic of the full representation of dance throughout entertainments of the first half of the 20th century. From her early work as a teenager dancing for Florenz Ziegfeld to her later work in choreographing extravagant ice skating shows, a remarkable dance with 90 bicyclists for the 1940
World's Fair, and on television as resident choreographer for The Jimmy Durante Show, Littlefield was amongst the first choreographers to bring concert dance to broader venues, and her legacy lives on today in her enduring influence on generations of American ballet dancers.

As the first biography of Littlefield, Catherine Littlefield: A Life in Dance traces her life in full from birth through childhood experiences dancing on the Academy of Music's grand stage, and from her foundation of the groundbreaking Philadelphia Ballet Company in 1935 to her later work in
television and beyond. Littlefield counted among her many glamorous friends and colleagues writer Zelda Fitzgerald, conductor Leopold Stokowski, and composer Kurt Weill. This biography also provides an engrossing portrait of the remarkable Littlefield family, many of whom were instrumental to
Catherine's success. With the unflagging support of her generous husband and indomitable mother, Littlefield gave shape to the course of American ballet in the 20th century long before Balanchine arrived in the United States.

While she is best remembered today as founder of the Philadelphia Ballet and the director and driving force behind the famous Littlefield School of Ballet, from which Balanchine drew the nucleus for his School of American Ballet, Catherine Littlefield (1905-51) and her oeuvre were in many ways emblematic of the full representation of dance throughout entertainments of the first half of the 20th century. From her early work as a teenager dancing for Florenz Ziegfeld to her later work in choreographing extravagant ice skating shows, a remarkable dance with 90 bicyclists for the 1940 World's Fair, and on television as resident choreographer for The Jimmy Durante Show, Littlefield was amongst the first choreographers to bring concert dance to broader venues, and her legacy lives on today in her enduring influence on generations of American ballet dancers.

DANCE IN AMERICA: A READER'S A

DANCE IN AMERICA: A READER'S A

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From ballet and Balanchine to tap and swing, a treasury of unforgettable writing about the beauty and magic of American dance.

From the beginning, American dance has been an exciting fusion of many disparate influences, with European traditions of ballet and social dancing encountering Native American rituals and African American improvisations to create something new and extraordinary. In this landmark collection, dance critic Mindy Aloff brings together an astonishing array of writers--dancers and dance creators, impresarios and critics, and enthusiastic literary observers--to tell the remarkable story of the artistry, innovation, and sheer joy of a great American art form. Here is dance in its many varieties and locales: from tap and swing to ballet and modern dance, from Five Points to Radio City Music Hall, and from the Lindy Hop to Michael Jackson's Moonwalk.

With 100 selections spanning three centuries, this is the biggest and best anthology on American dance ever published. Here are the most acclaimed dance critics, including Edwin Denby, Joan Acocella, Lincoln Kirstein, Jill Johnston, and Clive Barnes; the most inventive and influential choreographers and dancers, among them George Balanchine, Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp, Allegra Kent, and Mikhail Baryshnikov; and a dazzling roster of literary figures, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emily Dickinson, Hart Crane, Edmund Wilson, Langston Hughes, and Susan Sontag. Here too are rare and hard-to-find texts, several previously unpublished, among them Jerome Robbins's reflections on the secret of choreography and an inspiring commencement address from Mark Morris.

Brilliant profiles of unforgettable performers--Stuart Hodes on Martha Graham; John Updike on Gene Kelly; Alastair Macaulay on Michael Jackson--join incisive, often deeply personal pieces--Zora Neale Hurston on hoodoo ritual; Arlene Croce on dance in film; Yehuda Hyman on Hasidic dances--to form a one-of-kind reading experience every dance lover will cherish.

A twelve-page color insert presents iconic photographs of key figures from Isadora Duncan to Michael Jackson.

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

HE'S GOT RHYTHM: THE LIFE AND

HE'S GOT RHYTHM: THE LIFE AND

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He sang and danced in the rain, proclaimed New York to be a wonderful town, and convinced a group of Parisian children that they had rhythm. One of the most influential and respected entertainers of Hollywood's golden age, Gene Kelly revolutionized film musicals with his innovative and timeless choreography. A would-be baseball player and one-time law student, Kelly captured the nation's imagination in films such as Anchors Aweigh (1945), On the Town (1949), An American in Paris (1951), and Singin' in the Rain (1952).

In the first comprehensive biography written since the legendary star's death, authors Cynthia Brideson and Sara Brideson disclose new details of Kelly's complex life. Not only do they examine his contributions to the world of entertainment in depth, but they also consider his political activities-including his opposition to the Hollywood blacklist. The authors even confront Kelly's darker side and explore his notorious competitive streak, his tendency to be a taskmaster on set, and his multiple marriages.

Drawing on previously untapped articles and interviews with Kelly's wives, friends, and colleagues, Brideson and Brideson illuminate new and unexpected aspects of the actor's life and work. He's Got Rhythm is a balanced and compelling view of one of the screen's enduring legends.