Cover image for No fixed points : dance in the twentieth century
No fixed points : dance in the twentieth century
Reynolds, Nancy, 1938-
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Publication Information:
New Haven : Yale University Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
xv, 907 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
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GV1619 .R49 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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This book chronicles one hundred years of dramatic developments in ballet, modern, and experimental dance for stage and screen in Europe and North America. The volume is magisterial in scope, encompassing the history of theatrical dance from 1900 through 2000. Beginning with turn-of-the-century dancer-choreographers like Loie Fuller, Isadora Duncan, Michel Fokine, and a bit later Vaslav Nijinsky, and proceeding through the profusion of dance styles performed today, the book provides an unparalleled view of dance in performance as it changed and grew in the twentieth century.
Nancy Reynolds and Malcolm McCormick set dance in broader cultural and historical contexts, examine specific dance works, and explore the contributions of outstanding choreographers, performers, visual artists, impresarios, composers, critics, and other figures. They discuss the breakaway barefoot dance of the early 1900s and demonstrate its links with later forms and styles. With unusual detail, fascinating illustrations, and wide-ranging insights, this book is an indispensable guide to the transformations in the dance scene of the twentieth century.

Author Notes

Nancy Reynolds is director of research for the George Balanchine Foundation and a former member of the New York City Ballet. She has written widely about ballet and modern dance and is the author of Repertory in Review, among other books, and was the winner of the 2013 Bessie Award for Outstanding Service to the Field of Dance. Malcolm McCormick is a former professional dancer and costume designer who was a member of the dance faculty at the University of California, Los Angeles, and guest lecturer at other universities for many years.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Choreography fueled the big bang that gave form to twentieth-century dance, a universe of dazzling innovations, and choreographers are the stars of this vibrantly comprehensive history. Dancers as well as teachers and scholars, Reynolds and McCormick chronicle each remarkable phase in the spectacular evolution of modern and postmodern dance in both Europe and the U.S. with exceptional insight, gracefully entwining incisive biographical profiles of seminal choreographers and dancers with keen and lucid aesthetic analyses. The story of twentieth-century dance is one of synthesis and synergy as choreographers used tradition as a springboard to new lexicons of motion and styles of presentation, and drew on concomitant developments in music, visual art, and popular culture to extend dance's psychological, spiritual, and political reach. The story begins with the pioneering barefoot Americans Loie Fuller, Isadora Duncan, and Ruth St. Denis, and flows unceasingly forward to embrace the monumental accomplishments of the all-important Russians, from Nijinsky to Balanchine; the incomparable Martha Graham; and such luminaries as Twyla Tharp, Jerome Robbins, Merce Cunningham, and Arthur Mitchell. All the major players are scintillatingly portrayed in this grand and thrilling survey, and so, too, are dozens of less hallowed but nonetheless significant figures. --Donna Seaman Copyright 2003 Booklist

Library Journal Review

The story of 20th-century dance is as compelling as the history of the time period itself, complete with revolutions, national movements, and sweeping social changes. In this carefully written and impeccably researched work, Reynolds and McCormick, dance scholars with backgrounds as dancers and teachers, do not aim to detail 100 years' worth of steps but to provide "an account of the major developments, idioms, styles and artists that have transformed Western theatrical dance in those one hundred years." They bring their firsthand experience, the knowledge and traditions handed down to them by their teachers, and the insights and observations of historians and critics of note. Here, "theatrical dance" refers not only to ballet and modern dance but also tap, ballroom, chorus lines, minstrelsy, musical theater, and dance in the movies. The history of the acceptance of dance as a distinct art form and the importance of the choreographer's role in that art form are the authors' underlying themes. Studded with original cast photographs of many of the works described, this will be the jewel of any dance history collection. Students and dance enthusiasts alike will find much to read and revel in. Highly recommended.-Carolyn M. Mulac, Chicago P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

From the delightful visual energy of the early-20th-century posters reproduced on the endpapers and the exuberance of the Mark Morris Dance Group pictured on the title page to the detailed notes that conclude the book, this is a landmark publication. A former dancer, Reynolds (now director of research, George Balanchine Foundation) has written and edited many respected publications on dance, including the remarkable Dance of the Twentieth Century (1978, a slide and catalog work, which she coedited with Susan Reimer). Here she collaborates with McCormick (another former dancer and former faculty at UCLA and elsewhere), and their combined expertise animates all 17 chapters, ranging from "New Dance: America's Pioneers" to "Dance in the Movies." A readable overview presents important trends in ballet, modern dance, vernacular dance, and avant-garde dance from 1900 to 2000 in both North America and Europe. The many beautifully reproduced photographs incorporated throughout provide a dynamic perspective on 20th-century ballet: e.g., the 1901 classic of Loie Fuller, a less known view of Hanya Holm's Trend, the quintessential Gold Diggers of 1933 by Busby Berkley, an exquisite image of Fransisco Moncion and Tanaquil Leclercq in Afternoon of a Faun, an arresting view of Anna Pavlova with Aubrey Hitchins in Autumn Leaves. ^BSumming Up: Essential. All collections. C. W. Sherman emerita, College of William and Mary