Cover image for Ballet and modern dance
Ballet and modern dance
Au, Susan.
Personal Author:
Second edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Thames & Hudson, [2002]

Physical Description:
224 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 21 cm.
General Note:
Rev. ed. of: Ballet & modern dance. 1988.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV1787 .A79 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Anyone with an interest in dance has felt the need for a guide to the art's rich history and complex present state. Susan Au's lucid text covers the entire spectrum of dance, vividly describing the great performers and performances of the past as well as exploring in detail the dance world of today. A generous selection of illustrations completes the picture, taking the reader from the palaces of the Medici to the lofts of Manhattan, from the dancing of Louis XIV to the experimental choreography of Twyla Tharp and Pina Bausch. A completely new final chapter documents the work of the chief dancers and choreographers from the 1980s to the present, covering offshoots of modern dance such as Tanztheater and Butoh, and recent developments such as performance art and site-specific choreography. The author discusses the upsurge in the popularity of dances of the past, among them ballroom dancing and the Argentine tango, and notes the revival of tap dancing as well as the successful adaptation of Irish stepdancing to the theater. In addition, she records the uses dance and dancers have made of recent technological advances, including cinedance and videodance, CD-ROMs, and the Internet.

Author Notes

Susan Au is a freelance writer and dance historian. She is a contributor to The International Encyclopedia of Dance and was the American consultant for The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Ballet.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Dance intersects different cultures, but dance is also a culture in and of itself and is constantly changing. This change is rich in a diversity that is increasing rapidly. Limited to theatrical dance in the Western world, this revised edition of the volume that first appeared in 1988 covers the period from the 16th-century court to the work of Pina Bausch (1940- ). The first five chapters cover the beginnings of "ballet," the influence of Wigman and Laban, the creations of three American women (Loie Fuller, Isadora Duncan, Ruth St. Denis), the excitement of Diaghilev and the Ballet Russes, and the period of the "truly modern" (Graham, Humphrey, and Weidman). This second edition adds a new final chapter that includes reconstructions and performance art and documents the work of principal dancers and choreographers from the 1980s to the present. The book's illustrations and details take the reader to lofts in Manhattan and to Meredith Monk's site-specific work. Au's research skills are evident throughout, especially in the helpful suggested reading list. A marvelous book for all those who love dance history; libraries that own the earlier volume may wish to replace it; those that do not and support work in dance should acquire this edition. L. K. Rosenberg Miami University