The names Pavlova, Tchaikovsky, Giselle, and Copeland are part of a special and magical world to which very few belong. Ballet: The Definitive Illustrated Story (DK, $40) brings these names, and more, together and chronicles more than 450 years of the poetic and dreamy art form. From its extravagant beginnings in the courts of Italy and France, to the lavishly decorated Russian stages of the classical era and the sparse experimental scenes of modern American dance, ballet spans decades and cultures and deserves to be memorialized. Using a pleasant and eye-catching mix of storytelling, quotations, and stunning photographs, Ballet is packed with facts and historical anecdotes and showcases a spectacular timeline of dancers, dances, and companies. This DK collection is an exceptional and timeless gift for art lovers and history buffs alike and is sure to be a cherished addition to any library.
From the beginning, American dance has been an exciting fusion of influences from around the world, with European traditions of ballet, Native American rituals, and African American improvisations coming together to create something new and extraordinary. In Dance in America: A Reader's Anthology, Mindy Aloff, dance critic and consultant to The George Balanchine Foundation, brings together writers, dancers, and creators to tell the remarkable story of this great American art form. With iconic photographs, personal stories from famed choreographers and performers, and brilliant profiles of key figures from Isadora Duncan to Michael Jackson, this book is a one-of-kind reading experience every dance lover will cherish.
Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923) was one of the greatest actresses of her time. Offstage, she lived life to the fullest for 78 years. In SARAH (Yale Univ., $25), legendary editor and author Robert Gottlieb portrays his subject as intentionally blurring fact and fantasy; in her autobiography, Bernhardt made up parts of her life story. Yet Gottlieb manages to capture this fascinating woman, her family, her lovers—who included Victor Hugo—and the France she loved. He also explains how this consummate artist reinvented the craft of acting. The book is full of photographs of Bernhardt, and altogether Gottlieb’s account makes it clear why this fascinating woman—the Divine Sarah—was the toast of two continents.