Apollo’s Angels: A History of Ballet (Paperback)

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Apollo’s Angels: A History of Ballet (Paperback)
By Jennifer Homans

NATIONAL BESTSELLER

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW • LOS ANGELES TIMES • SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE • PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

For more than four hundred years, the art of ballet has stood at the center of Western civilization. Its traditions serve as a record of our past. Lavishly illustrated and beautifully told, Apollo’s Angels—the first cultural history of ballet ever written—is a groundbreaking work. 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. In the twentieth century, émigré dancers taught their art to a generation in the United States and in Western Europe, setting off a new and radical transformation of dance.

Jennifer Homans, a historian, critic, and former professional ballerina, wields a knowledge of dance born of dedicated practice. Her admiration and love for the ballet, as Entertainment Weekly notes, brings “a dancer’s grace and sure-footed agility to the page.”

“The only truly definitive history of the most impossibly fantastic art form, ballet…an eloquent and lasting elegy to an unlasting art.” (The New York Times Book Review)

“Homans brings her intimate experience as a dancer and her discerning dance critic’s eye to her fascinating and exquisitely detailed history of ballet, an art that combines rigor and idealism…. [A] glorious landmark study of ballet’s ideals and enchantment.” (Booklist)

Apollo’s Angels is an important addition to the literature on ballet: intellectually rigorous, beautifully written, brilliantly structured…. An illuminating history much needed now.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks (November 29, 2011)
  • Dimensions: 6.1” W x 1.5” D x 9.2” H
  • Paperback, 672 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (November 29, 2011)
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches

 



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History

Ballet

In classic or contemporary ballet, dancing may tell a story, express a mood, or simply reflect the music in movement. Ballet as part of staged performances originated in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th and 16th centuries and from there spread to France. The creation of classical ballet as we know it today occurred during the reign of the art-loving French king Louis XIV in the mid-17th century. During the Romantic era, ballet technique evolved to express new ideas, most notably with women dancing en point, or on their toes, allowing them to appear weightless and otherworldly.
 
Among the choreographers who helped bring ballet into the modern age by exploring new visual and dramatic styles are George Balanchine, Antony Tudor and—bridging the worlds of classical dance and Broadway—Agnes de Mille and Jerome Robbins.

 

 

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