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New Perspectives on the Romantic Ballet
Rethinking the Sylph gathers essays by a premier group of international scholars to illustrate the importance of the romantic ballet within the broad context of western theatrical dancing. The wide variety of perspectives -- from social history to feminism, from psychoanalysis to musicology -- serves to illuminate the modernity of the Romantic ballet in terms of vocabulary, representation of gender, and iconography. The collection highlights previously unexplored aspects of the Romantic ballet, including its internationalism; its reflection of modern ideas of nationalism through the use and creation of national dance forms; its construction of an exotic-erotic hierarchy, and proto-orientalist "other"; its transformation of social relations from clan to class; and the repercussions of its feminization as an art form. This generously illustrated book offers a wealth of rare archival material, including prints, costume designs, music, and period reviews, some translated into English for the first time.
Rituals and Remembrances
Along with linked modes of religiosity, music and dance have long occupied a central position in the ways in which Atlantic peoples have enacted, made sense of, and responded to their encounters with each other. This unique collection of essays connects nations from across the Atlantic---Senegal, Kenya, Trinidad, Cuba, Brazil, and the United States, among others---highlighting contemporary popular, folkloric, and religious music and dance. By tracking the continuous reframing, revision, and erasure of aural, oral, and corporeal traces, the contributors to Rhythms of the Afro-Atlantic World collectively argue that music and dance are the living evidence of a constant (re)composition and (re)mixing of local sounds and gestures. Rhythms of the Afro-Atlantic World distinguishes itself as a collection focusing on the circulation of cultural forms across the Atlantic world, tracing the paths trod by a range of music and dance forms within, across, or beyond the variety of locales that constitute the Atlantic world. The editors and contributors do so, however, without assuming that these paths have been either always in line with national, regional, or continental boundaries or always transnational, transgressive, and perfectly hybrid/syncretic. This collection seeks to reorient the discourse on cultural forms moving in the Atlantic world by being attentive to the specifics of the forms---their specific geneses, the specific uses to which they are put by their creators and consumers, and the specific ways in which they travel or churn in place. Mamadou Diouf is Leitner Family Professor of African Studies, Director of the Institute of African Studies, and Professor of History at Columbia University. Ifeoma Kiddoe Nwankwo is Associate Professor of English at Vanderbilt University.
The Racial Politics of Music and Dance in North American Slavery
In this ambitious project, historian Katrina Thompson examines the conceptualization and staging of race through the performance, sometimes coerced, of black dance from the slave ship to the minstrel stage. Drawing on a rich variety of sources, Thompson explicates how black musical performance was used by white Europeans and Americans to justify enslavement, perpetuate the existing racial hierarchy, and mask the brutality of the domestic slave trade. Whether on slave ships, at the auction block, or on plantations, whites often used coerced performances to oppress and demean the enslaved.As Thompson shows, however, blacks' "backstage" use of musical performance often served quite a different purpose. Through creolization and other means, enslaved people preserved some native musical and dance traditions and invented or adopted new traditions that built community and even aided rebellion.Thompson shows how these traditions evolved into nineteenth-century minstrelsy and, ultimately, raises the question of whether today's mass media performances and depictions of African Americans are so very far removed from their troublesome roots.
A Global Dance in Local Contexts
Contributors include Bárbara Balbuena Gutiérrez, Katherine Borland, Joanna Bosse, Rossy Díaz, Saúl Escalona, Kengo Iwanaga, Isabel Llano, Jonathan S. Marion, Priscilla Renta, Alejandro Ulloa Sanmiguel, and the editor.
In the series Studies in Latin American and Caribbean Music, edited by Peter Manuel
Choreographers and the Lure of Alternative Spaces
In recent years, site-specific dance has grown in popularity. In the wake of groundbreaking work by choreographers who left traditional performance spaces for other venues, more and more performances are cropping up on skyscrapers, in alleyways, on trains, on the decks of aircraft carriers, and in a myriad of other unexpected locations worldwide.
In Site Dance, the first anthology to examine site-specific dance, editors Melanie Kloetzel and Carolyn Pavlik explore the work that choreographers create for nontraditional performance spaces and the thinking behind their creative choices. Combining interviews with and essays by some of the most prominent and influential practitioners of site dance, they look at the challenges and rewards of embracing alternative spaces.
The close examinations of the work of artists like Meredith Monk, Joanna Haigood, Stephan Koplowitz, Heidi Duckler, Ann Carlson, and Eiko Otake provide important insights into why choreographers leave the theatre to embrace the challenges of unconventional venues.
Site Dance also includes more than 80 photographs of site-specific performances, revealing how the arts, and movement in particular, can become part of and speak to our everyday lives. Celebrating the often unexpected beauty and juxtapositions created by site dance, the book is essential reading for anyone curious about the way that these choreographers are changing our experience of the world one step at a time.
An Introduction to the Rhythmic Language of South Indian Music
Solkattu, the spoken rhythms and patterns of hand-clapping used by all musicians and dancers in the classical traditions of South India, is a subject of worldwide interest—but until now there has not been a textbook for students new to the practice. Designed especially for classroom use in a Western setting, the manual begins with rudimentary lessons in the simplest South Indian tala, or metric cycle, and proceeds step-by-step into more challenging material. The book then provides lessons in the eight-beat adi tala, arranged so that by the end, students will have learned a full percussion piece they can perform as an ensemble. Solkattu Manual includes web links to video featuring performances of all 150 lessons, and full performances of all three of the outlined small-ensemble pieces. Ideal for courses in world music and general musicianship, as well as independent study. Book lies flat for easy use.
Artistry and Nationalism in State Dance Ensembles
The Ghana Dance Ensemble takes Ghana’s national culture and interprets it in performance using authentic dance forms adapted for local or foreign audiences. Often, says Paul Schauert, the aims of the ensemble and the aims of the individual performers work in opposition. Schauert discusses the history of the dance troupe and its role in Ghana’s post-independence nation-building strategy and illustrates how the nation’s culture makes its way onto the stage. He argues that as dancers negotiate the terrain of what is or is not authentic, they also find ways to express their personal aspirations, discovering, within the framework of nationalism or collective identity, that there is considerable room to reform national ideals through individual virtuosity.
The Life of an Idea
In this ceaselessly questioning book, acclaimed African American dancer, choreographer, and director Bill T. Jones reflects on his art and life as he describes the genesis of Story/Time, a recent dance work produced by his company and inspired by the modernist composer and performer John Cage. Presenting personally revealing stories, richly illustrated with striking color photographs of the work’s original stage production, and featuring a beautiful, large-format design, the book is a work of art in itself.
Like the dance work, Story/Time the book is filled with telling vignettes—about Jones’s childhood as part of a large, poor, Southern family that migrated to upstate New York; about his struggles to find a place for himself in a white-dominated dance world; and about his encounters with notable artists and musicians. In particular, Jones examines his ambivalent attraction to avant-garde modernism, which he finds liberating but also limiting in its disregard for audience response. As he strives to make his work more personal and broadly engaging, especially to an elusive African American audience, Jones—who is still drawn to the avant-garde—wrestles with questions of how an artist can remain true to himself while still caring about the popular reception of his work.
A provocative meditation on the demands and rewards of artistic creation, Story/Time is an inspiring and enlightening portrait of the life and work of one of the great artists of our time.
Ballet and Power in Soviet Russia
Classical ballet was perhaps the most visible symbol of aristocratic culture and its isolation from the rest of Russian society under the tsars. In the wake of the October Revolution, ballet, like all of the arts, fell under the auspices of the Soviet authorities. In light of these events, many feared that the imperial ballet troupes would be disbanded. Instead, the Soviets attempted to mold the former imperial ballet to suit their revolutionary cultural agenda and employ it to reeducate the masses. As Christina Ezrahi’s groundbreaking study reveals, they were far from successful in this ambitious effort to gain complete control over art. Swans of the Kremlin offers a fascinating glimpse at the collision of art and politics during the volatile first fifty years of the Soviet period. Ezrahi shows how the producers and performers of Russia’s two major troupes, the Mariinsky (later Kirov) and the Bolshoi, quietly but effectively resisted Soviet cultural hegemony during this period. Despite all controls put on them, they managed to maintain the classical forms and traditions of their rich artistic past and to further develop their art form. These aesthetic and professional standards proved to be the power behind the ballet’s worldwide appeal. The troupes soon became the showpiece of Soviet cultural achievement, as they captivated Western audiences during the Cold War period. Based on her extensive research into official archives, and personal interviews with many of the artists and staff, Ezrahi presents the first-ever account of the inner workings of these famed ballet troupes during the Soviet era. She follows their struggles in the postrevolutionary period, their peak during the golden age of the 1950s and 1960s, and concludes with their monumental productions staged to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the revolution in 1968.