Making Ballet American: Modernism Before and Beyond Balanchine

Andrea Harris (Author)

Product Details

Oxford University Press, USA
Publish Date
November 01, 2017
6.4 X 0.9 X 9.3 inches | 1.19 pounds
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About the Author

Andrea Harris is Assistant Professor of Dance at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Certified Movement Analyst.


"In Andrea Harris' riveting account of Making Ballet American Balanchine, Kirstein, and Denby did not turn away from politics at mid-century, as we have mistakenly believed, but rather created neoclassical ballet from an alert engagement with the crises of their time. An astonishing and lucid history, revisionist scholarship at its brilliant best!"-Susan Manning, Northwestern University

"Making Ballet American is a remarkable tale of two men-Lincoln Kirstein, the brilliant apologist for ballet, and Edwin Denby, the poet of dance critics-who, together and separately, championed George Balanchine's ballet neoclassicism as the cynosure of American ballet. But the book's historical synthesis is even more gripping, focusing on how modernist artists and thinkers from all walks of American culture confronted the deep, underlying fears of the twentieth century: mass media's potential to create unthinking mobs, in the guise of fascism, totalitarianism, and even unbridled capitalism. At last, a critical intellectual history of twentieth-century ballet in America-one that is particularly resonant in our time, and full of irony, as individuals initially driven by countercultural and nonconformist values erect elite institutions guaranteed to quash alternative voices!"-Joellen Meglin, Temple University

"With this book, her first, Harris (Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison) makes an important contribution to analyses of 20th-century American ballet. She positions American ballet, especially the neoclassical works of George Balanchine and the New York City Ballet, within broad international contexts--artistic, cultural, political, and social developments during the period from the Depression through the Cold War. Her method is to alternate chapters and interchapters. The chapters complicate the development of American ballet modernism by using detailed critical study of the writings of Balanchine's sponsor Lincoln Kirstein and dance critic Edwin Denby. The interchapters provide close readings of the American ballets Billy the Kid (1938), Rodeo (1942), and Western Symphony (1954). These help anchor the more theoretical writing in specific danced examples." --Choice