From ballet and Balanchine to tap and hip-hop, two centuries of rich and eloquent writing about the beauty and magic of American dance.
Like American speech, American dance has from the beginning been a fusion of many different tones and inflections, with European traditions of ballet and social dancing encountering Native American rituals and African American improvisations to create something altogether new, and extraordinary. Now, in this landmark anthology, dance critic Mindy Aloff (Hippo in a Tutu) brings together an astonishing array of writers--dancers and dance creators, impresarios and critics, and enthusiastic literary observers--to trace the evolution of American dance in all its many forms and locales, classical, modern, and vernacular.
The range of perspectives on display is staggering. Here are the most acclaimed dance critics--among them Arlene Croce, Carl Van Vechten, Edwin Denby, Joan Acocella, Lincoln Kirstein, Jill Johnston, Clive Barnes; the most inventive and influential choreographers and dancers, including Isadora Duncan, George Balanchine, Katherine Dunham, Merce Cunningham, Agnes de Mille, Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp, Allegra Kent, and Mark Morris; and a dazzling roster of major literary figures, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charles Dickens, Emily Dickinson, Hart Crane, Edmund Wilson, Zora Neale Hurston, W. H. Auden, Langston Hughes, Susan Sontag, and John Updike.