With a hey diddle diddle, the creators of Why Cats Paint
return with another version of feline (and human) reality. And suffice it to say that in Burton Silver and Heather Busch's hands, Kipling's cat that walked by himself has turned into a deeply codependent dervish. Their first book was a brilliant parody of artspeak--Busch's photos of creative felines matched by Silver's text. Their second, Dancing with Cats
--an epic three years in the making!--juxtaposes psychological and spiritual mumbo-jumbo with the language of dance criticism. As Silver explores everything from visualization to mirroring to empathy, Busch is busy with her human-feline pairs. In one sequence, Fred, clad in tabby tights, kitty-cat body paint, and a tanga with a long black tail, leaps about the place with a slightly puzzled pussy: "I share its grace, power, and oneness with the universe. I relate to Fluff and the whole spectrum of feline physicality on a profound level--I even regard birds differently."
On the very next page, chubby Helen, sporting a tie-dyed purple gown and a deeply sworn belief in feng shui, identifies perhaps a bit too deeply with chunky, amber-eyed Boots (who looks suspiciously like "Trans-Expressionist" Bootsie from Why Cats Paint). And then there's Sue and Zoot. In one photo, the recumbent gray and peach cat raises his left paw to the sky as his ecstatic human does the same. Then Sue dons a feathery jerkin "in order to dance out some of her past traumas." It's difficult to say which is funnier, the photos or the text, as Silver catches pseudo-therapy's mixture of self-affirmation and non sequitur: "Dancing with Zoot helps Sue reenact and come to terms with the joy and sorrow of a brief but painful relationship: when she fell in love with her daughter's father while he was photographing bridges in the neighborhood." Though the two-legged models must have been prepared for this inspired silliness, one does wonder what on earth the cats made of their eurythmic adventures. Alas, until interspecies communication reaches a greater height, we can only dance amid our uncertainty! --Kerry Fried
Reviews from: ELLE
This lean and lithe danseur noble is only one of the balletically inclined felines that Burton Silver and Heather Buschauthors of the newly published Dancing With Catshave turned up in their ongoing investigation of the aesthetic propensities of cats (see their 1994 monograph Why Cats Paint). If the American Ballet Theater has not yet picked up on these piroutteing pussies, it's only a matter of time.
While researching their last tongue-in-cheek tome, Why Cats Paint, Burton Silver and Heather Busch came across pet owners with a curious predilection: two-stepping with their tabbies. The pair shed light on this phenom in a collection of pet pas de deux. Raves one dance partner: "The feline vibration surges through me with such power. Afterward I feel incredibly alert and peaceful."
The authors of Why Cats Paint, bring you Dancing with Cats published by Chronicle Books. It is lovingly illustrated with photos of graceful felines and their colorful owners, caught mid-flight.
Burton Silver and Heather Busch have rediscovered and brought to light the ancient art of cat dancing. They say cat dancing lets the owner and the cat channel together and tap into the natural feline energy vibration...or something like that. We just love the pictures. Look for it in your local bookstore.
by Michael Neill
People who hate catsailurophobes is the ten-dollar worddismiss our purring friends as cold-blooded, self-centered manipulators with no redeeming social value beyond their all-too-occasional oppression of small rodents. Hah! What fools! As Silver and Busch knowand cleverly showed in Why Cats Paint, their previous bookkitties are actually multitalented Renaissance critters capable of, heck, just about anything. And it seems they also cut a mean rugnot just shred it to bits. Dancing with Cats cleverly mixes mock-pretentious writing"Before dancing, Helen and Boots do a series of mirroring exercises to specially developed feline soundscapes"with whimsical entertaining photographs of cat-human paws de deux.