Through the Eyes of a Dancer: Selected Writings

Through the Eyes of a Dancer: Selected Writings

by Wendy Perron
     
 

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Through the Eyes of a Dancer compiles the writings of noted dance critic and editor Wendy Perron. In pieces for The SoHo Weekly News, Village Voice, The New York Times, and Dance Magazine, Perron limns the larger aesthetic and theoretical shifts in the dance world since the 1960s. She surveys a wide range of styles and genres, from downtown experimental performance

Overview

Through the Eyes of a Dancer compiles the writings of noted dance critic and editor Wendy Perron. In pieces for The SoHo Weekly News, Village Voice, The New York Times, and Dance Magazine, Perron limns the larger aesthetic and theoretical shifts in the dance world since the 1960s. She surveys a wide range of styles and genres, from downtown experimental performance to ballets at the Metropolitan Opera House. In opinion pieces, interviews, reviews, brief memoirs, blog posts, and contemplations on the choreographic process, she gives readers an up-close, personalized look at dancing as an art form. Dancers, choreographers, teachers, college dance students—and anyone interested in the intersection between dance and journalism—will find Perron’s probing and insightful writings inspiring. Through the Eyes of a Dancer is a nuanced microcosm of dance’s recent globalization and modernization that also provides an opportunity for new dancers to look back on the traditions and styles that preceded their own.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
09/09/2013
Former dancer and choreographer Perron’s pleasurably idiosyncratic approach to dance criticism is on display in this selection spanning the ’60s to the present from sources like SoHo Weekly News, Village Voice, and Dance Magazine. Perron takes readers into the avant-garde ‘’70s with Barbara Lloyd and the improvisation group Grand Union; a 1996 concert featuring “dancers near or over the age of sixty”; and an unlikely collaboration between Mikhail Baryshnikov and the experimental choreographer and filmmaker Yvonne Rainer. Perron writes of her education at the Joffrey School and recalls working with Kenneth King and lifelong friend Sara Rudner. Writing about Martha Graham’s “theatrical fury,” Perron wonders of today’s talent, “what female choreographer will bring us that kind of vehemence?” She weighs in on the Japanese style of Butoh with important questions about cultural appropriation, and, in a sobering essay, discusses how the 1980s AIDS epidemic affected the dance community and how HIV-positive dancers are coping today. On a controversial note, Perron talks to ballerina Sarah Lane, Natalie Portman’s snubbed body double from the film Black Swan. In addition to dance, Perron covers street performers, Susan Sontag’s critical theory, and about spending time with J.D Salinger. Perron’s reviews describe the actions of performances so completely you will feel that you are witnessing them first-hand. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
“ ‘Dance reaches every corner of me,’ Perron offers, and this is evident in her ability to capture and articulate her viewing experiences as informed by her life in the field…
Through the Eyes of a Dancer would be a smart addition to any dance history or criticism curriculum. It offers a rich resource for dancers and artists looking to draw on a female perspective of criticism during a particular era of dance exploration and evolution. Her consideration for the artist is undeniable. Her understood obligation to her audience is unmistakable.”
—Melanie Greene, DCA News

“Through the Eyes of a Dancer reaffirms that dance is a way of being in the world as much as a physical practice. Like good dance, Perron’s accounts, insights, and questions resonate in the aftermath. What a gift that she wove her paths together so seamlessly, and that we have this provocative collection of musings.”
—Carolyn Merritt, Dance Chronicle

“As someone who loves to dive into history and ideas, I am grateful to have Perron’s vivid, companionable guide. This is not, as you might have guessed, academic or theory-based criticism. She doesn’t try to cover all points of view, just writing her own thoughts in a voice that’s impassioned and articulate. There’s a lot packed into this volume, but with integrity, conviction and panache, she invites us to join the conversation.”
—Philip Szporer, The Dance Current

“Perron writes with kinesthetic appeal, making you feel like you’re seeing performances right there with her.”
—Rachel Rizzuto, Dance Teacher

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780819574077
Publisher:
Wesleyan University Press
Publication date:
11/05/2013
Pages:
372
Sales rank:
1,328,995
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

What People are saying about this

Elizabeth Zimmer
“Through the Eyes of a Dancer is an exciting, adventurous journey through the ‘dance boom’ and its aftermath. The average choreographer doesn’t have nearly her facility with language, and the average journalist lacks the inside understanding of the process; Perron combines these two perspectives masterfully.”
Liz Lerman
“What does it mean for the world of dance writing to gain insights into decades of performance through the eyes of a beautiful writer/dancer/choreographer? This is the beauty of Wendy Perron’s new book, a compendium of her work of almost half a century. Whether observing through the keenness of her ever-present mind, or the visceral capacity of her dancer self, her writing takes us into and onto the stages of many of our most interesting dance makers. Wendy weaves her own story of inquiry, both muscular and mental, and the memories which fill these pages are sweet, terrifying and real.”
Deborah Jowitt
“I’ve never read a collection like Perron’s engrossing Through the Eyes of a Dancer. She reviews and ponders four decades of developments and enduring values—both in dance and in the life of her performing-choreographing-writing self. Currently editor-in-chief of Dance Magazine, Perron displays an uncanny ability both to view art works from a distance and to burrow into their hearts.”

Meet the Author

WENDY PERRON is a former dancer, choreographer, and teacher. She was the editor in chief of Dance Magazine from 2004 to 2013, and is now an editor at large.

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