cover image The Spirited Earth

The Spirited Earth

Rizzoli, Victoria Ginn. Rizzoli International Publications, $60 (191pp) ISBN 978-0-8478-1167-0

Ginn, a New Zealander who spent three years traveling through the regions covered here, depicts in photographs and explains in brief captions dance traditions in her own country, Australia, the Solomon Islands, India, Burma, Thailand, Nepal and Indonesia. We see storytelling dances ranging from the literal to the symbolic, the secular to the religious; many rituals, we're told, are kept vividly alive despite modernization. Through 160 color photos, the reader witnesses startling facial and bodily expressions; dancers portraying deities, heroes and animals; the use of elaborate masks, weapons and other objects in story interpretation. In her exquisite book, Ginn shows the diversity of the societies she visited while revealing their shared interest in preserving their traditional cultures. (Dec.)