Cover

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Frontispiece, Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-viii

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Introduction and Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

I saw my first dance performance in 1950; I published my first dance review a decade later. Over the years, I have written about dance for numerous publications, including daily newspapers, specialist monthlies, and critical quarterlies. When I began to assemble this collection of reviews and essays, I decided it ought to possess some sort of focus so that it would be more than a miscellany. ...

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Part I. Thinking about Choreography

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pp. 1-30

Choreography keeps slipping away. Once a dance has started, it cannot be stopped or slowed down; once a dance has ended, it is hard to summon back. Many dances have not been notated or filmed, and survive only in the memories of their interpreters, and memories, of course, are fallible. ...

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Part II. Out of the Past

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pp. 31-74

For purposes of convenience, dance history teachers often cite Le Ballet Comique de la Reine, a court spectacle of 1581, as the most important forerunner of the art today known as ballet. Yet its choreography has been lost. Indeed, although in recent years several scholarly attempts have been made to reconstruct choreography from the sixteenth to the early nineteenth centuries, ...

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Part III. Some Contemporary Masters

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pp. 75-138

Most dancegoers of the mid-twentieth century have surely had to come to terms with six great choreographers: George Balanchine, Antony Tudor, Frederick Ashton, Jerome Robbins, Martha Graham, and Merce Cunningham. One cannot escape them. Both when their creations inspire and when they exasperate, one feels forced to mull over them. ...

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Part IV. Ballet Makers

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pp. 139-156

Ballet classes look remarkably similar everywhere. Individual teachers may emphasize different points of technique. Analytically minded ballet masters may codify their procedures in pedagogical manuals which can be used as the bases for carefully graded training methods. ...

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Part V. The Ever-Modern

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pp. 157-206

An art form that prizes individual creativity and aesthetic inquisitiveness, modern dance resists definition. Therefore, dancegoers fond of tidy categorizations have been suspicious of it; some have even tried to wish it away. Although its imminent demise has often been predicted, it always manages a miraculous recovery. ...

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Part VI. Images in Action

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pp. 207-238

Since the early 1960s, a choreographic form has flourished which, though related to modern dance, differs both from the solemn narratives that were so popular among modern dancers of the 1940s and 1950s and from the abstractions favored by some of the rebels against those narratives. ...

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Part VII. Problems and Prospects

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pp. 239-278

Contemporary American dance is unusually rich. Two major forms flourish—ballet and modern dance—and there is an ongoing aesthetic dialogue between them. Major ballet companies exist from coast to coast. Modern dance is blessed with unusual diversity. ...

Index

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pp. 279-294