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Dance Writings and Poetry Paperback – September 10, 1998
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From Library Journal
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
Frank O'Hara wrote of dancewriter Edwin Denby in his poem 'Edwin's Hand', that he was 'Easy to love, but/difficult to please,he/walks densely as a child/in the midst of spectacular/needs to understand.' A glimpse of Denby the man and the myth peek through in a new book of his prose DANCE WRITINGS AND POETRY, Edited by Robert Cornfield, (Yale University Press, $40 hard, $18 soft). Cornfield notes in an introductory short-bio, that Denby had a background in art history, music, gymnastics, theater and began his career in the 20s as a dancer. This is the only book now in print of Denby's influencial dance articles. For almost thiry years Denby's eye was deftly focused on the evolution of dance in this century.
Denby's ability as a dance interpreter has a dramatic authority, if dated abstractness. His encylopedic knowledge of the history and connotations of every type of dance is always evident in his essays. This spectrum, as presented in the uneven 'Dance Writings', builds as a symposia on the world of dance, invovling complete aspects of academic, physical and aesthetic interrogation. And, to credit his anti-eliteism, his work, even at it most studied, has a conversational lightness. It is obvious that his evaluative powers were distinctive and unique. But you cannot help but wonder why he doesn't employ the economy in his writing that he would expect on the dance stage. Or red flag his own indulgences of style, something that he was obviously fond of doing when critiquing other artists.
Denby's mission was to define the terms of dancewriting and make it vital to the art form. To achieve "disentangling the pretensions of a ballet from it achievements." as he put in the essay 'Dance Criticism'.Read more ›