Reading Dance: A Gathering of Memoirs, Reportage, Criticism, Profiles, Interviews, and Some Uncategorizable Extras

Robert Gottlieb, Author . Pantheon $47.50 (1130p) ISBN 978-0-375-42122-8

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)

Reviewed on: 09/15/2008
Release date: 11/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 978-0-307-37780-7
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