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And their analysis of stage events is extraordinary. Denby—like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, a Harvard drop-out—was a professional dancer, choreographer, student in Germany of movement analysis for a degree in pursuit of which Denby wrote a superb thesis , and an analysand of rigorous psychoanalysis.
He was also, most especially, an esteemed poet. And yet, in his dance writings, he brought these experiences to bear gently and with humility, in language a bright ten-year-old could absorb. In addition, he was sparing with metaphors and similes, so that, when he did use one, it was memorable, like a perfect pearl you happen to find in an oyster. Arlene Croce continues that discipline. She is not a practicing poet, and she never studied dance herself, but she did study art, which gives her a sensitivity to the bodies and stage pictures of the theater.
A master of the declarative sentence, she enjoys a first-rate literary gift that was prized when she was still in college. Her essay on dance in film was one of the first writings I read by her, back in the s; it introduced me to certain large ideas about dance and the camera, and I never found a survey on that subject to replace hers.
As the founding editor of the quarterly Ballet Review , Arlene not only knew Edwin Denby but also brought his voice into her pages. Her essay in this anthology about him as a colleague, a friend, and a giant of her field is, for me, a masterpiece. Did these forms have to wait before they received serious critical consideration?
Aloff: Although visiting ballet superstars in the nineteenth century as well as the twentieth always attracted press attention, as did nineteenth-century touring musical spectacles with ballet, notably The Black Crook , it was not until after World War II that more than a couple of cities in the U. A pair of unicorns proved the exceptions: Represented in our anthology are Henry Taylor Parker, formally a critic of theater and music in Boston, who wrote many considerate and perceptive reviews of dancers from the first years of the twentieth century into the end of the s, and Carl Van Vechten, a music critic for The New York Times and, decades later, an important photographer of black and white dancers and entertainers.
He was reviewing dancers as early as and continued reviewing dance into the s; by the s, he was writing about vernacular dance in Harlem in his fiction. By , Van Vechten, especially active as a writer and partygoer in Harlem during the Harlem Renaissance, was chronicling the acrobatic vernacular dance the Lindy Hop, invented by bravura and, at the time of invention, amateur African American dancers. Regardless of how one thinks of his storytelling, his dance writing in every form was serious criticism. One can find newspaper accounts of dance-driven African American shows that had packed in crowds on Broadway since at least the superstar combo of Bert Williams, George Walker, and Ada Overton Walker in the In Dahomey.
But, for the most part, up to the late s, dancers of all vernacular traditions were most knowledgeably critiqued by other dancers. For viable criticism of the vernacular to thrive, one had to wait for integrated theaters and dance halls, for professional writers to cover dance as a beat, for vernacular dance genres and traditions to be publicly recognized by concert promoters as attractive to paying audiences, and for colleges and universities to offer courses and majors that would make it possible for aspiring critics to learn about the traditions they wanted to evaluate.
Forsythe had asked himself what was the one most powerful force in dance today, and answered: hip-hop. Seller assumes all responsibility for this listing. Item specifics Condition: Good : A book that has been read, but is in good condition. Minimal damage to the book cover eg. If this is a hard cover, the dust jacket may be missing. Binding has minimal wear. The majority of pages are undamaged with some creasing or tearing, and pencil underlining of text, but this is minimal.
No highlighting of text, no writing in the margins, and no missing pages. See all condition definitions — opens in a new window or tab.
ISBN 13: 9780374528720
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Writing In The Dark Dancing In The New Yorker
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