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

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."

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.

Cinematic Encounters 2: Portraits and Polemics

Cinematic Encounters 2: Portraits and Polemics

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Eschewing the idea of film reviewer-as-solitary-expert, Jonathan Rosenbaum continues to advance his belief that a critic's ideal role is to mediate and facilitate our public discussion of cinema. Portraits and Polemics presents debate as an important form of cinematic encounter whether one argues with filmmakers themselves, on behalf of their work, or with one's self.

Rosenbaum takes on filmmakers like Chantal Akerman, Richard Linklater, Manoel De Oliveira, Mark Rappaport, Elaine May, and Béla Tarr. He also engages, implicitly and explicitly, with other writers, arguing with Pauline Kael—and Wikipedia—over Jacques Demy, with the Hollywood Reporter and Variety reviewers of Jarmusch’s The Limits of Control, with David Thomson about James L. Brooks, and with many American and English film critics about misrepresented figures from Jerry Lewis to Yasujiro Ozu to Orson Welles. Throughout, Rosenbaum mines insights, pursues pet notions, and invites readers to join the fray.

Cinematic Encounters: Interviews and Dialogues

Cinematic Encounters: Interviews and Dialogues

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Godard. Fuller. Rivette. Endfield. Tarr. In his celebrated career as a film critic, Jonathan Rosenbaum has undertaken wide-ranging dialogues with many of the most daring and important auteurs of our time.

Cinematic Encounters collects more than forty years of interviews that embrace Rosenbaum's vision of film criticism as a collaboration involving multiple voices. Rosenbaum accompanies Orson Welles on a journey back to Heart of Darkness, the unmade film meant to be Welles's Hollywood debut. Jacques Tati addresses the primacy of décor and soundtrack in his comedic masterpiece PlayTime, while Jim Jarmusch explains the influence of real and Hollywoodized Native Americans in Dead Man. By arranging the chapters chronologically, Rosenbaum invites readers to pursue thematic threads as if the discussions were dialogues between separate interviews. The result is a rare gathering of filmmakers trading thoughts on art and process, on great works and false starts, and on actors and intimate moments.

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.

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.

First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic: Revised and Expanded Edition

First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic: Revised and Expanded Edition

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Jessica Hopper's criticism is a trenchant and necessary counterpoint not just on music, but on our culture at large. --Annie Clark, St. Vincent

An acclaimed, career-spanning collection from a fiercely feminist and revered contemporary rock critic, reissued with new material

Throughout her career, spanning more than two decades, Jessica Hopper, a revered and pioneering music critic, has examined women recording and producing music, in all genres, through an intersectional feminist lens. The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic features oral histories of bands like Hole and Sleater Kinney, interviews with the women editors of 1970s-era Rolling Stone, and intimate conversations with iconic musicians such as Björk, Robyn, and Lido Pimienta. Hopper journeys through the truths of Riot Grrrl's empowering insurgence; decamps to Gary, Indiana, on the eve of Michael Jackson's death; explodes the grunge-era mythologies of Nirvana and Courtney Love; and examines the rise of emo. The collection also includes profiles and reviews of some of the most-loved, and most-loathed, women artists making music today: Fiona Apple, Kacey Musgraves, M.I.A., Miley Cyrus, Lana Del Rey.

In order for the music industry to change, Hopper writes, we need "the continual presence of radicalized women . . . being encouraged and given reasons to stay, rather than diminished by the music which glues our communities together." The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic--published to acclaim in 2015, and reissued now with new material and an introduction by Samantha Irby--is a rallying cry for women-centered history and storytelling, and a groundbreaking, obsessive, razor-sharp panorama of music writing crafted by one of the most influential critics of her generation.

Throughout her career, spanning more than two decades, Jessica Hopper, a revered and pioneering music critic, has examined women recording and producing music, in all genres, through an intersectional feminist lens. The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic features oral histories of bands like Hole and Sleater Kinney, interviews with the women editors of 1970s-era Rolling Stone, and intimate conversations with iconic musicians such as Björk, Robyn, and Lido Pimienta. Hopper journeys through the truths of Riot Grrrl's empowering insurgence; decamps to Gary, Indiana, on the eve of Michael Jackson's death; explodes the grunge-era mythologies of Nirvana and Courtney Love; and examines the rise of emo. The collection also includes profiles and reviews of some of the most-loved, and most-loathed, women artists making music today: Fiona Apple, Kacey Musgraves, M.I.A., Miley Cyrus, Lana Del Rey.

In order for the music industry to change, Hopper writes, we need “the continual presence of radicalized women . . . being encouraged and given reasons to stay, rather than diminished by the music which glues our communities together.” The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic―published to acclaim in 2015, and reissued now with new material and an introduction by Samantha Irby―is a rallying cry for women-centered history and storytelling, and a groundbreaking, obsessive, razor-sharp panorama of music writing crafted by one of the most influential critics of her generation.

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