Writing Dancing in the Age of Postmodernism / Edition 1

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Drawing of the postmodern perspective and concerns that informed her groundbreaking Terpsichore in Sneakers, Sally Banes’s Writing Dancing documents the background and developments of avant-garde and popular dance, analyzing individual artists, performances, and entire dance movements. With a sure grasp of shifting cultural dynamics, Banes shows how postmodern dance is integrally connected to other oppositional, often marginalized strands of dance culture, and considers how certain kinds of dance move from the margins to the mainstream.

Banes begins by considering the act of dance criticism itself, exploring its modes, methods, and underlying assumptions, and examining the work of other critics. She traces the development of contemporary dance from the early work of such influential figures as Merce Cunningham and George Balanchine to such contemporary choreographers as Molissa Fenley, Karole Armitage, and Michael Clark. She analyzes the contributions of the Judson Dance Theatre and the Workers’ Dance League, the emergence of Latin postmodern dance in New York, and the impact of black jazz in Russia. In addition, Banes explores such untraditional performance modes as breakdancing and the “drunk dancing” of Fred Astaire.

Ebook Edition Note: Ebook edition note: All images have been redacted.

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
"Impressively rich and varied . . . A very important addition to the literature of the field for graduate students in dance history, performance art history, post-modern culture and for interested undergraduates doing research in these areas."
School Library Journal
Banes (theater and drama, Univ. of Wisconsin) has been writing about dance for 20 years. Her Terpsichore in Sneakers: Post-Modern Dance (1979) was groundbreaking in its serious treatment of contemporary, avant-garde dance, a subject she continues to investigate in this rich collection of published and unpublished pieces. Together, the offerings chart the evolution of Banes as a dance critic and the evolution of contemporary dance. They are divided into five sections and range from Ballet Sudois to Merce Cunningham and Marcel Duchamp to breakdancing to Latina choreographers. Banes's observations are ever astute and thought-provoking. Recommended for dance collections in public, academic, and special libraries.-Joan Stahl, National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C. Bunch, William.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780819562685
  • Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1994
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 428
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 8.97 (h) x 1.16 (d)

Meet the Author

SALLY BANES is Professor of Theatre and Drama and Chair of the Dance Program at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She has served as editor of Dance Research Journal and as a senior critic at Dance Magazine, and has published essays in numerous periodicals, including the Village Voice. Terpsichore in Sneakers: Post-Modern Dance (Wesleyan paperback, 1987) was the first exploration of postmodern dance.
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Table of Contents

I Writing Criticism/History 1
1 Jill Johnston: Signaling Through the Flames 3
2 Working and Dancing: A Response to Monroe Beardsley's "What Is Going on in a Dance?" 10
3 Criticism as Ethnography 16
4 On Your Fingertips: Writing Dance Criticism 24
5 Power and the Dancing Body 43
II The Euro-American Avant-Garde 51
6 Balanchine and Black Dance 53
7 An Introduction to the Ballets Suedois 70
8 Soiree de Paris 82
9 Kasyan Goleizovsky's Ballet Manifestos 92
10 Merce Cunningham's Story 103
11 Cunningham and Duchamp 109
III The African-American Connection 119
12 To the Beat, Y'All: Breaking Is Hard to Do 121
13 Breakdancing: A Reporter's Story 126
14 Lock Steady 133
15 Critic's Choice: Breakdancing 137
16 Breaking 143
17 A House Is Not a Home 153
18 Breaking Changing 156
19 The Pleasin' in Teasin' 159
20 The Moscow Charleston: Black Jazz Dancers in the Soviet Union 161
IV Other Subversions: Politics and Popular Dance 169
21 Stepping High: Fred Astaire's Drunk Dances 171
22 The Men at John Allen's Dance House 184
23 Red Shoes: The Workers' Dance League of the 1930s 199
V Postmodern Dance: From the Sixties to the Nineties 205
24 Judson Rides Again! 207
25 Choreographic Methods of the Judson Dance Theater 211
26 Vital Signs: Steve Paxton's Flat in Perspective 227
27 Meredith Monk and the Making of Chacon: Notes from a Journal 240
28 Dancing on the Edge 252
29 "Drive," She Said: The Dance of Molissa Fenley 259
30 Self-Rising Choreography 268
31 Transparent Living 273
32 No More Ordinary Bodies 277
33 Happily Ever After? The Postmodern Fairytale and the New Dance 280
34 Pointe of Departure 290
35 Classical Brinksmanship: Karole Armitage and Michael Clark 297
36 Terpsichore in Sneakers, High Heels, Jazz Shoes, and On Pointe: Postmodern Dance Revisited 301
37 Dancing [with/to/before/on/in/over/after/against/away from/without] the Music: Vicissitudes of Collaboration in American Postmodern Choreography 310
38 La Onda Proxima: Nueva Latina Dance 327
39 Dance and Spectacle in the United States in the Eighties and Nineties 333
40 Dancing in Leaner Times 341
41 Going Solo 348
Notes 353
Index 387
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