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Includes bibliographical references (pages -612) and index.
Formatted Contents Note:
Masters and traditions -- France and the classical origins of ballet. Kings of dance ; The Enlightenment and the story ballet ; The French Revolution in ballet ; Romantic illusions and the rise of the ballerina ; Scandinavian orthodoxy : the Danish style ; Italian heresy : pantomime, virtuosity, and Italian ballet -- Light from the East : Russian worlds of art. Tsars of dance : imperial Russian classicism ; East goes West : Russian Modernism and Diaghilev's Ballets Russes ; Left behind? : Communist ballet from Stalin to Brezhnev ; Alone in Europe : the British moment ; The American century I : Russian beginnings ; The American century II : The New York scene -- The masters are dead and gone.
Unique among the arts, ballet has no written texts or standardized notation. It is a storytelling art passed on from teacher to student. A ballerina dancing today is a link in a long chain of dancers stretching back to sixteenth-century Italy and France: Her graceful movements recall a lost world of courts, kings, and aristocracy, but her steps are also marked by the dramatic changes in dance and culture that followed. From ballet's origins in the Renaissance and the codification of its basic steps and positions under France's Louis XIV (himself an avid dancer), the art form wound its way through the courts of Europe, from Paris and Milan to Vienna and St. Petersburg. Jennifer Homans, a historian and critic who was also a professional dancer, traces the evolution of technique, choreography, and performance in clear prose, drawing readers into the intricacies of the art with vivid descriptions of dances and the artists who made them--From publisher description.
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