cover image Before, Between, and Beyond: Three Decades of Dance Writing

Before, Between, and Beyond: Three Decades of Dance Writing

Sally Banes, , forewords by Joan Acocella and Lynn Garafola, edited and with an intro. by And. Univ. of Wisconsin, $70 (380pp) ISBN 978-0-299-22154-6

Veteran dance critic and scholar Banes (Terpsichore in Sneakers ) is best known for her postmodern take on modern dance and women onstage. This new collection of essays showcases the best of her 30 years in the field, starting with her first-ever published piece (on the dance company Pilobolus) and ending with her most recent work (on George Balanchine's 1942 choreography for elephants in Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus). The essays in between cover Alvin Ailey, Jerome Robbins, Meredith Monk and even Madonna and disco dancing. Clear, incisive and personable, Banes is in fine form in all these pieces (some published for the first time). She brings a historical perspective to her observations, then links them to the larger worlds of politics, economics, religion and sexuality. That she's able to express such sophisticated ideas in plain, even conversational, English results in what feels like a witty and exuberant postperformance conversation in a small West Village cafe over a steaming cups of espresso. This collection—tragically Banes's last due to an incapacitating stroke—will make a welcome addition to any dance and performing arts library. (May 25)