The Art of Dance

Harvey Edwards, Author Little Brown and Company $35 (144p) ISBN 978-0-8212-1734-4
In his first book, Edwards, well known for his photographic dance posters, notes not only ballet's familiar glamour but what one dancer calls her colleagues' ``bulldog work habit.'' Without sacrificing the drama inherent in choreographed motion, Edwards perceives clearly and truly what it is that dancers do. In his oeuvre unfold images of startling fidelity to the daily grind of classroom and rehearsal, yet also of surpassing beauty. Infused with a sense of artistic vision and the labor--physical and imaginative--that fulfills it, the 22 black-and-white and 85 color photos have an uncanny ability to ``move'' us, whether we know dance or not. Edwards eschews academic poses to focus on shape and detail--the veins in a ballerina's forearm; the vast dark stretch of a nearly vacant studio; the bundle of bones and sinews that can transform a body into an idea. He bypasses the fashionable ideal of the feminine wraith for the body's rapt, imperfect presence, and conveys with eloquent simplicity the unassuming heroism of a dancer's ``typical day.'' The photographer's view is aesthetic but humane: ripped leg warmers (worn over tights), taped toes of ballet shoes and dingy soles acquire a graphic power, and dirty floors and walls bear the bona fide marks of full employment. Approaching his subject with artistry heightened by sympathy, Edwards offers an exceptional look at the life of an art. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1989
Release date: 10/01/1989
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