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The Art of Grace: On Moving Well Through Life

The Art of Grace: On Moving Well Through Life

by Sarah L. Kaufman


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A Pulitzer Prize–winning dance critic teaches us to appreciate—and enact—grace in every dimension, from the physical to the emotional.

Grace has long been taught as essential to civilized living. The Three Graces—goddesses of charm, beauty, and creativity—exemplify ease and harmony with one another and the world around them. But what has happened to this simple, marvelous concept of being at ease in the world?

With warmth, humor, and an ever-perceptive eye, Sarah L. Kaufman sifts the graceful from the graceless, celebrating heart-catching moments of physical elegance in sports, movies, dance, fashion, and music; rare sightings of celebrity grace; the secrets of gracious hosts; and grace found unexpectedly, in the kitchen of a high-end restaurant and among strippers in a basement bar. Kaufman’s thought-provoking reflections on these physical and social acts of grace offer hope for even the clumsiest, most awkward among us.

Guided by the muse of Cary Grant (with further inspiration from Smokey Robinson, Roger Federer, Nelson Mandela, Margot Fonteyn, Amy Purdy, Beyoncé, and others), Kaufman illuminates the importance of grace in the small moments of everyday life. In The Art of Grace, she inspires us to walk taller, spend time on unnecessary kindnesses, and celebrate the grace notes in our lives and those of others.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393243956
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 11/02/2015
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 875,211
Product dimensions: 8.30(w) x 5.80(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Sarah L. Kaufman is a Pulitzer Prize–winning critic, author, and educator. She is the dance critic and senior arts writer of the Washington Post. A former French-American Foundation journalism fellow, she has taught and lectured around the country. She and her husband have three children and live in Takoma Park, Maryland.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Body Electric xiii

Part 1 A Panoramic View of Grace

1 Flair to Remember: Why Cary Grant Epitomizes Grace 3

2 Grace Among Others: Jay Gatsby, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Other Good Hosts 24

3 Grace and Humor: Maggie Thatcher, Johnny Carson, and My 105-Year-Old Highball-Sipping Great-Grandmother 34

4 Grace and the Art of Getting Along: How the Baby Boomers Derailed Centuries of Manners Instruction 47

Part 2 Looking at Grace

5 Superstar Grace: Lessons from Motown 77

6 Everyday Grace: Cooks, Waiters, and Roadies 91

7 Grace in Art The Sculptor Who Set the Body Free 105

Part 3 Grace in Action

8 Athletes: Roger Federer, Olga Korbut, and Others Who Play with Ease 117

9 Dancers: The Grace of Transcendence 145

10 Walking With Grace: Catwalks, Crosswalks, and Presidential Bearing 164

Part 4 Grace under Pressure

11 The Pratfall Effect: Stumbling into Grace 183

12 Working at Grace: Lessons from Vaudeville 188

13 "To Become Unstuck": Finding Grace despite Physical Difficulties 194

Part 5 Understanding grace: Theories and Practice

14 The Science of Grace: Survival of the Graceful 211

15 Amazing Grace: Religion without Judgment 236

16 Leap Into Grace: Techniques for Graceful Living 255

Conclusion 271

Tips For Moving Well Through Life 277

Acknowledgments 280

Notes 283

Illustration Credits 294

Index 297

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