The Ballets of Antony Tudor: Studies in Psyche and Satire / Edition 1

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One of the leading choreographers in ballet over the last half century, Antony Tudor is considered the most lyrical and emotionally powerful of modern ballet masters, acclaimed for his imaginative use of music and his commitment to dramatic pplot. Comparable in achievement to George Balanchine and Frederick Ashton, Tudor created over sixty ballets, including his masterpieces Jardin aux Lilas, Dark Elegies, Romeo and Juliet and the incomparable Pillar of Fire. He was instrumental in the establishment of the American Ballet Theater and its rise to prominence as one of the world's great ballet companies.
Now Judith Chazin-Bennahum, an accomplished author and a former ballerina and student of Tudor's steps forward to deliver the first comprehensie, ballet by ballet examination of Tudor's choreography. Meticulously researched, lively and insightful, The Ballets of Antony Tudor: Studies in Psyche and Satire opens the way for dance aficionados to better appreciate and preserve the artistic legacy of one of this century's major innovators. Long ago performances come thrillingly to life, from Tudor's fledgling efforts with Marie Rambert's Ballet Club in London, to his tenure as a founding member and principal choreographer of ABT to his subsequent career as a contributor to the New York City Ballet, the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, and as a celebrated teacher at Juilliard. Chazin-Bennahum draws extensively from her interviews with TUudor before his death in 1987, and her own experience in his famous classes and rehearsals. Her superbly documented research uncovers program notes, reviews, rare photographs and stills of original productions, and interviews with scores of men and women who played a part in Tudor's achievement. Choreographers and dancers from Agnes de Mille and Nora Kaye to Jerome Robbins and Gelsey Kirkland discuss their debt to Tudor, and his role in the evolution of dance.
While not a biography in the traditional sense, the book does shed fascinating light on the private life of Antony Tudor. He was born William Cook, the son of a butcher in London's East End, in 1908, and Chazin-Bennahum's analysis reveals how deeply his life informed his art. "I never do a ballet that does not concern the bourgeoisie," Tudor once said. Of course, Tudor's experience was shaped by more than class. Like Picasso, writes the author, Tudor was a child of our century, reacting to its wars, its destruction and its persecution of women and children in the language he knew best. Original and engaging, The Ballets of Antony Tudor brilliantly explicates the hidden desire, brutality, violence towards women, isolation, and unrequired love that are common themes in Tudor's ballets, illuminating the rich psychological nuance and intimacy of gesture with which he transformed his art.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Choreographer Tudor 1908-1987 chose the language of classical ballet as a means of original, nuanced comment on issues ranging from love and troubled families to sex crimes and rape as a weapon of war; he also made funny, satirical dances. Chazin-Bennahum, a professor of theater arts at the University of New Mexico who began her association with Tudor in 1959, provides the first comprehensive volume on his life's work. It is a valuable one, chronicling the work of one of the century's most influential, if erratic, choreographers in clear, evocative descriptions of the dances and sharp interpretation. Tudor began his career in London with Marie Rambert in the 1930s, then traveled to New York City and established a durable relation with the soon-to-be American Ballet Theatre, contributing such ballets as Pillar of Fire 1942. He resisted repeating himself, although his career was undermined by long fallow periods. The book also recognizes Tudor as a ``nourishing'' educator of two decades' standing at Manhattan's Julliard School and elsewhere. Offering analysis and appreciation in equal part, Chazin-Bennahum's study should help extend the life of Tudor's ballets in repertories around the world. Illustrations not seen by PW. Mar.
Library Journal
Tudor 1908-87 will be recalled as a leading 20th-century choreographer who followed a singular path in his narrative dances. Donna Perlmutter's Shadowplay LJ 6/15/91 was the first published biography of this notoriously private figure. Chazin-Bennahum theater arts, Univ. of New Mexico purposefully takes a different approach than Perlmutter, focusing on the work rather than the man. The descriptions of each dance offer detailed information culled from published sources, archival materials, and interviews. The author's approach is systematic and thorough, but the presentation is dry, considering that the subject matter is Tudor's highly charged, evocative dances. The book will be best utilized by students, teachers, dance historians, and balletomanes, who have seen Tudor's dances performed. For academic and large public libraries.-- Joan Stahl, National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.
Donna Seaman
Although Tudor 1909-87 never achieved the same level of name recognition accorded his contemporaries--George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, and Merce Cunningham--he was a major creative force in twentieth-century ballet. Chazin-Bennahum experienced Tudor's intense and uncompromising direction firsthand when she danced for him as a member of the Metropolitan Opera Ballet Company some 30 years ago, and she now seeks to anchor his reputation and "monumental influence" more securely with this thorough and penetrating examination of his life's work. She chronicles Tudor's early years in London and his crucial move to New York during World War II and lovingly describes his emotional ballets, which include "Pillar of Fire", "Romeo and Juliet", and "Undertow". Tudor was an extremely private man, involved in Zen and considered "strange" by his more gregarious, flamboyant colleagues, but that personal reticence was belied by his dramatic and poetic ballets, which did nothing less than change our perception of dance. Ballet and modern dance aficionados will be grateful for Chazin-Bennahum's careful study and preservation of Tudor's lyrical and visionary work.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195071863
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 3/24/1994
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.43 (w) x 9.55 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Meet the Author

About the author:
Judith Chazin-Bennahum is the author of Dance in the Shadow of the Guillotine, and is Professor of Theatre and Dance at the University of New Mexico. She has danced with Robert Joffrey, was principal soloist with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet Company, and has choreographed for the New Mexico Symphony.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction to Tudor's Dominions: Studio and Stage 3
2 Early Years: Childhood in London and the Discovery of a Passion 20
3 Revelation of a Malor Talent 59
4 Tudor on His Own 78
5 To America: The Journey That Lasts a Lifetime 97
6 Disenchantment in New York 144
7 Tudor the Educator 161
8 Tudor Extends Himself 195
9 Honors at Last 227
10 Epilogue: The Heart of the Matter 238
Appendix A: Tudor's Choreography 245
Appendix B: Notated Dances 271
Appendix C: Tudor's Roles 274
Glossary of Ballet Terms 277
Sources 281
Notes 287
Index 303
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