cover image Dance


Rizzoli, Wallace. Rizzoli International Publications, $25 (128pp) ISBN 978-0-8478-0819-9

Four digressively anecdotal but entertaining essays here examine dance and high society, but, in this companion volume to an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the lavish illustrations are the real treatfrom color reproductions of works by Renoir and Whistler to Avedon's black-and-white photo of an evening slipper. Wallace, coauthor of The Preppy Handbook, illuminates ""masquerade madness'' in balls given by Louis XV, Queen Victoria and William K. Vanderbilt. Commonwealstet dance critic McDonagh details dance steps and rules from the Renaissance onward (one present-day schoolmaster is said to have cautioned boys that it was impolite to leave their partners until they ``found another partner or got married''). Druesedow, associate curator of the Met's Costume Institute, discourses on sumptuous ball gowns. Libin, the Met's curator of musical instruments, and Old, a former dancer, look to art for clues about dancing in different periods and places. (May 15)