Holiday gift ideas: Dance Magazine staffers have been perusing the latest goodies this year. Look over these recommendations to find the perfect gift for your dance lover.
by Merce Cunningham with additional text by David Vaughan. New York: Aperture. 2002. 96 pages, illustrations. $30. ISBN: 0-89381-946-8.
This elegantly produced peek inside the great choreographer's notebooks, kept over a twenty-eight-year period, offers very a personal bestiary and sundry diary entries that illuminate the pleasures, quandaries, and daily vexations of a lifetime devoted to rearranging space and confounding expectations. Consider it a two-way fiftieth anniversary gift.--Allan Ulrich
STRAVINSKY & BALANCHINE: A JOURNEY OF INVENTION
by Charles M. Joseph. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. 2002. 440 pages, illustrations. $40. ISBN: 0-300087-12-8.
Joseph, a Skidmore College music professor and the author of Stravinsky Inside Out, has created a scrupulously annotated history of one of the twentieth century's great artistic collaborations. Dotted with black-and-white photos, costume sketches, copies of Stravinsky scores, and anecdotes from designers and dancers the book chronicles this creative partnership from the Diaghilev-era Ballets Russes through the flowering of New York City Ballet. Despite their differences, Joseph notes, Balanchine and Stravinsky well understood one another's art, and shared both a love of Russian culture and a classically ordered vision of time and space. Readers with a technical understanding of music will get more from the book, although ballet buffs are treated to several engaging firsthand accounts of working with the collaborators--such as Alicia Markova's mind-boggling admission that by age 14, she had learned Stravinsky's scores by ear.--Heather Wisner
MODERN BODIES: DANCE & AMERICAN MODERNISM FROM GRAHAM TO ALLEY
by Julia L. Foulkes. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press. 2002. 272 pages, illustrations. $49.95. ISBN: 0-807826-98-7. 256 pages paper. $18.95. ISBN: 0-807853-67-4.
An author and history teacher at The New School in New York City, Julia Foulkes takes a decidedly scholarly look (with forty pages of notes and a twenty-page bibliography) at the beginnings of modern dance. She places into the social and political context of the 1930s and 1940s the work of Ruth St. Denis, Ted Shawn, Charles Weidman, Helen Tamiris, Katherine Dunham, Pearl Primus, Alvin Alley, and of course, Martha Graham. These choreographers both shocked and titillated audiences with their perspectives on sexuality, gender, race, and class.
Foulkes makes the claim that the competing interests of three distinct groups--white women, gay men, and African Americans--greatly defined the form we now know as modern dance. Photos aren't a major part of this book, but there are some wonderful black-and-white performance shots plus a few informal scenes, like noontime sunbathing of Ted Shawn and His Men Dancers at Jacob's Pillow, and Doris Humphrey with Bennington Summer School of Dance students. --Karen Hildebrand
MUSIC FOR CREATIVE DANCE, VOLUMES I-IV
by Eric Chappelle. Seattle, WA: Ravenna Ventures, Inc. 1993, 1994, 1998, 2000 respectively. Four compact discs, each with a booklet, "Creative Dance Ideas," by Anne Green Gilbert. $17 each. RVCD 9301, RVCD 9401, RVCD 9801, RVCD 9901.
My love of dance blossomed when I was very young. I would clamber all over the living room furniture to the emotive melodies in Walter Carlos's Switched-On Bach. Eric Chappelle, music director of the Creative Dance Center in Seattle, has created four CDs that would have been perfect for me and still do appeal to my adult self He composed the sixteen to twenty-one songs on each disc to inspire movement through interplay between styles, tempos, rhythms, and tonalities. I can see these being wonderful tools for dance teachers, especially since the included booklets list specific ideas for moving to each piece. Though there's a clear youth-education feel to the song titles and descriptions, the music is pleasant enough to stand outside the classroom. I really like the catchy tune "Bee Beat" (Volume II), and that song is by no means the only infectious one of the bunch. Putting the music to the test, I did my morning stretches to these CDs a few days in a row, letting the tunes suggest ways of moving. It was enjoyable indeed, but I did stay off the furniture.--Daniel Ari
I SEE AMERICA DANCING: SELECTED READINGS, 1685-2000. Edited by Maureen Needham. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press. 2002. 248 pages, paper, illustrations. $18.95. ISBN: 0-252069-99-4.
Did the twist signal the end of Western civilization? Of course not, writer Marshall Fishwick rightfully asserts in his 1962 Saturday Review essay "The Twist: Brave New Whirl"; nor did his era's jitterbug or his father's Charleston. Fishwick's point, that dance--however maligned or misunderstood--reflects, rather than destroys, the culture that produces it, echoes throughout the book. Needham has chosen essays that give American dance context. Whether it's Thomas Falkner's dire warning that social dance ruins good Christian girls, in "From the Ballroom to Hell" (1894); Yvonne Ranier's own description of her politically charged Flag Dance (1970); or an Associated Press story about the first high school dance held in an Ozarks town in 1988, this is lively and informative reading.--Heather Wisner
NATIVE AMERICAN DANCE by Ben Marra. Huntington Beach, CA: Avalanche Publishing. Sixteen-month calendar. $12.99. ISBN: 1-58622-889-7 and
POW WOW: PORTRAITS OF NATIVE AMERICANS by Ben Marra. Huntington Beach, CA: Avalanche. Sixteen-month calendar. $12.99. ISBN: 1-58622-904-4.
Avalanche has produced two colorful calendars of indigenous America with exciting dance and portrait photos from renowned photographer Ben Marra. The photographs in Native American Dance capture the movement of flying fringe, swaying jingle-cones, waving feather-fans, and rustling bustles. To his credit, Marra has carefully named the dancers, nation, and dance style of each dancer depicted. Pow Wow: Portraits of Native Americans depicts twelve dancers and their traditions and reasons for dancing. Both sixteen-month calendars are suitable for framing and as library references for Native American dance.--Dee Dee Castro
STEP-BALL-CHANGE by Jeanne Ray. New York: Shaye Areheart Books. 2002. 240 pages. $22.95. ISBN: 0-609-61003-1.
For those in need of a stocking-stuffer-caliber read, Step-Ball-Change is a good novel to curl up by the fire with. Admittedly, the dance connection is threadlike: The 62-year-old dance-teacher protagonist, Caroline, owns a studio, but it's a peripheral element; the plot throws her into of her daughter's tenuous engagement and her sister's divorce. Grand themes--acceptance, self-knowledge, love--and Ray's amusing turns of phrase allowed me to forgive her less-than-grand plot and two-dimensional characters.
The moments when Caroline's love of dancing surfaces are joyous (I liked her references to "the pleasure of watching your own hand arc above your head in the mirror, the camaraderie of moving in a perfect line with others"), and I wished for more of them. But an intriguing part of this book is not so much that Caroline is in her 60s but that we forget her age. Sure, she complains about needing to replace a hip joint or two, but this is an attractive, vital sexual woman for whom dance is central to her life. The secret to staying young? Why, dancing, of course.--Cheryl Ossola
RAP A TAP TAP: HERE'S BOJANGLES--THINK OF THAT! This is a rare tap book for young people, ages 3 and up. By Caldecott awardees Leo and Diane Dillon and published by Scholastic's imprint The Blue Sky Press, the rhythmic text actually encourages hand-clapping along. $15.95. ISBN: 0-590-47883-4.
THE FIREBIRD Illustrated by Vladimir Vagin as if it were the ballet, The Firebird is author Jane Volen's telling of the Russian folk tale of the triumph of good over evil--with the help of a little magic. Ages 3 to 6. HarperCollins Publishers. $15.95. ISBN: 0-06-028538-9.
THE HARLEM NUTCRACKER Hyperion Books for Children has just released this photo book of Donald Byrd's ballet with text and photographs by Susan Kuklin (who was the photographer for the elegant book for children, Dance, by Bill T. Jones (see Dance Magazine, December 1998, pages 79 and 86). Byrd's jazzy interpretation of the ballet classic reflects the Harlem Renaissance and nightclub era. It's a treat to see one of our favorite dancers and writers, Gus Solomons jr, in the role of Gus, the elder Clara's husband and the Nutcracker hero, who battles not mice but Death. For ages 8 and up. $19.99. ISBN: 078680633-8.
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|Title Annotation:||dance-related books reviewed briefly|
|Date:||Nov 1, 2002|
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