- Hardcover: 1360 pages
- Publisher: Pantheon; 1 edition (November 4, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 037542122X
- ISBN-13: 978-0375421228
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 2.7 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #707,684 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Reading Dance: A Gathering of Memoirs, Reportage, Criticism, Profiles, Interviews, and Some Uncategorizable Extras 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Former Knopf and New Yorker editor-in-chief Gottlieb offers a wonderfully idiosyncratic collection of dance writings in one massive yet cohesive tome organized into chapters on major choreographers (from Bournonville to Paul Taylor), dancers, teachers and miscellaneous subjects such as "Present at the Creation" (e.g., ballerina Alexandra Danilova on Balanchine's Apollo). There's brilliant and incisive criticism, and artists in their own voices, such as winsome and witty ballerina Allegra Kent on her first performance with the New York City Ballet. There are critical looks at dancers, such as Harris Green's pointed take on Gelsey Kirkland as "The Judy Garland of Ballet." Then there are the ephemera: Fred Astaire opining on Ginger Rogers's dresses, Walt Disney's animated dances and recipes from Tanaquil LeClercq's The Ballet Cook Book. Although Gottlieb admits that his collection is "unbalanced and uneven," the paucity of writing on black dancers and choreographers--three pages on Alvin Ailey's "crude but powerful style" and an obituary of hoofer Honi Coles--is egregious. Nonetheless, it's an important collection and a treasure chest for dance aficionados. (Nov. 4)
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*Starred Review* Formerly editor in chief of Knopf and the New Yorker, Gottlieb is a consummate bookman and anthologist par excellence. This is his third major compendium, following Reading Jazz (1996) and Reading Lyrics (2000), and the largest yet. Gottlieb is, in addition to all else, a dance critic and author of George Balanchine: The Ballet Maker (2004). Balanchine figures prominently here as one of the pantheon of dancers and choreographers Gottlieb organizes this capacious collection around, among them Frederick Ashton, Fred Astaire, Merce Cunningham, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Martha Graham, and Twyla Tharp. Seminal dance writers are also present, including Joan Acocella, Arlene Croce, and Edwin Denby. In terms of dance history, this extraordinary assemblage is a must-have. But this gathering is also guaranteed to light up the brain circuitry of any reader who loves superlative essays. While covering all the important subjects from multiple perspectives, Gottlieb has selected writings of exceptional energy and forthright expression, from Janet Flanner on Isadora Duncan to Lincoln Kirstein on bad ballet and Jill Johnston on Baryshnikov. Perhaps the sheer physicality and eroticism of dance inspires its commentators to write with unusual verve. Gottlieb’s great book of dance dances. --Donna Seaman
Top customer reviews
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The quality of the collection continues to delight me. Whenever I can squeeze 20 min at the end of a busy day, I would randomly flip to a page and immediately find something fascinating. It has introduces me to many more great dancers, whose personalities come jumping out of the pages through their interviews. Their perspectives on dancing have given me much food for thought and expanded my horizon many times over. Not all personalities come across as flattering, especially when they are presented so close to each other in the same volume. That in itself is interesting in association with their dancing styles.
This book has given me so much enjoyment that I can't remember the last book that made me feel this way.
I guess a print error, 30 pages total.
An excellent dance history source. I remember in one of my ballet classes the teacher asked us all to name a favorite dancer/role model that stimulates us as professional dancers. It was interesting that of all the dance majors none of the students knew of any dancers on the spot. Alessandra Ferri is my favorite and inspires me with a dance career well into her mid 40's and her role in Prokofievs Romeo and Julliet is awesome. However, this book should be on the curriculum of any dance school to enhance the students knowledge and interest in those that raised the barre for us all.
When "Reading Dance" arrived I was shocked to find what looked like an exhaustive text on dance virtually devoid of any photos.
My instruction to my daughter was simple. "Look her over and see if this book picques your interest - otherwise..."
When she had time, I would see her looking at the book seemingly captivated so I took a peek and found that I too was enjoying articles from people that everyone in dance would know but that I'd never heard of.
Alghough I think this book is a special find for a dancer, it also offers insights for those of us who know virtually nothing about dance.
Wonderfully worth it!