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books and colhan Terpsichore in Sneakers. Sally Banes. Houghton Mifflin, $17.95 (cloth); $7.95 (paper). Sally Banes's intelligent, informed, and above all sympathetic collection of essays on ten "post-modern" choreographers (plus the Grand Union) describes these artists' work in formal terms and in terms of their choreographic intentions, the latter tactic leading her right back into an expressionism challenged by many of the dancers she discusses. Not surprisingly , she is better with the idealistic and the literary (David Gordon, Meredith Monk, Simone Forti, Kenneth King) than with "formalists" like Lucinda Childs, Doug Dunn or even Trisha Brown. Although the sheer diversity of the work defies a unifying aesthetic (if not certain unifying myths), Banes has a fan's reluctance to step on any toes: she soft-soaps the failures, perverseness, chaos and daring that inspired dance experimentalists throughout the sixties and seventies. A social history of the era, as well as a true critical study, remain to be written. Still, Terpsichore in Sneakers remains an invaluable work for the sheer volume and care of its information and its occasional interpretive insights, and Robert Alexander's photographs are excellent. Perhaps downtown dance is still in need of advocacy in some circles; but the supportiveness and gentility which have a stranglehold on most "post-modern" dance criticism leaves us with no standards to play with at all. Is that a good thing? Robert Coe Performance. RoseLee Goldberg. Harry N. Abrams, 128 pp., $12.50 (cloth), $6.95 (paper). Charting the course of performance art from 1909 to the present, Goldberg seduces us with exciting pictures, good anecdotes and a wealth of description that relies much too heavily on the secondary sources the author cites in her bibliography. What is lacking, though, is a synthesizing critical focus that links history and sensibility. The distinctions between theatre performance performance are never made clear and distinct. Goldberg's simple definition of performance art as "live art" says too little about a range of activity that strains for definition at this point. One must also bear in mind that Goldberg has made serious omissions, detailed focus on the Fluxus movement, for example. Michael Earley 158 Theater of the Oppressed. Augusto Boal. Urizen Books, 197 pp., $12.95 (cloth); $5.95 (paper). Boal's essays on the politics of theatre derive from an analytical approach that is quite absent from critical thinking in the U.S.-a socio-political philosophy that unites politics and art in a practical methodology. Theater of the Oppressed includes essays on Aristotelian tragedy, Machiavelli and the poetics of virtu, and the Brechtian notion of character; there are also chapters on his own practical work with theatres in Peru and Brazil before he went into exile in Europe. It is about time that this book, which has been in print in other languages for some years, is now available to American audiences who haven't been properly introduced to an important contemporary theatre practitioner and theorist. Bonnie Marranca The Art of Kabuki. Famous Plays in Performance. Samuel L. Leiter. University of California Press, 319 pp., $16.95 (cloth). Unlike other books on the Kabuki, this work only peripherally deals with the theoretical and aesthetic aspects of this elegant and exotic art form. In fact, The Art of the Kabuki proves to be a necessary adjunct to any theoretical formulation of a theatrical style in which performance qualities reign supreme. Fashioned after Brecht's model books, the book employs numerous production photographs and a scrupulously annotated scene by scene study of various segements of Kabuki plays. Leiter delves into his subject with a scholar's precision of thought and a director's eye for detail, thereby providing a fascinating and rare glimpse of the evolutionary history of an art form in the making. Gautam Dasgupta Information For Playwrights. Edited by Michael Earley. Theatre Communications Group, 24 pp., $4.00 This booklet lists organizations and publications of interest, conferences and contests, and fellowships and grants for playwrights. But the bulk of Information For Playwrights consists of a listing of nearly one hundred theatres, spotlighting information on the kinds of plays produced, and workshops and readings. The only publication of its...


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