Barefoot to Balanchine

Mary Kerner, Author Anchor Books $9.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-385-26436-5
While the author urges viewers to trust their own judgment, this informative, if uninspiring primer will help novice dance-goers to appraise a performance. Kerner provides a layman's guide to dance technique and terminology, brief histories of ballet and modern dance, and profiles of the work of important choreographers, from Bournonville to Balanchine, Duncan to Laura Dean. The technique sections delineate the various elements of good dancing (including balance, alignment, ease), and outline basic steps and types of movement--allegro and adagio, jetes and pirouettes--explaining how viewers can tell when they have been well executed: she notes, for instance, the importance of a quiet landing in even the highest leap. Unfortunately, the book is stronger on telling readers how to evaluate the dancer than how to appreciate the dance. Kerner, a former dancer and a freelance writer, could have provided more insight into skillful choreography than that it should be ``interesting'' and more on how to savor the subtler, rather than the spectacular, beauties of dance. Illustrated. Dance Book Club selection. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
Genre: Nonfiction
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