Apollo's Angels: A History of Ballet

Apollo's Angels: A History of Ballet

Apollo s Angels A History of Ballet One of The New York Times Book Review s Best Books of the YearFor than four hundred years the art of ballet has stood at the center of Western civilization Its traditions serve as a record of our

  • Title: Apollo's Angels: A History of Ballet
  • Author: Jennifer Homans Kirsten Potter
  • ISBN: 9781452631080
  • Page: 186
  • Format: Audio CD
  • One of The New York Times Book Review s 10 Best Books of the YearFor 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 A ballerina dancing The Sleeping Beauty today is a link in a long chain of dancers stretching back to sixteenth century Italy and France Her graceful movements reOne of The New York Times Book Review s 10 Best Books of the YearFor 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 A ballerina dancing The Sleeping Beauty today is a link in a long chain of dancers stretching back to sixteenth century Italy and France Her graceful movements recall a lost world of courts, kings, and aristocracy, but her steps and gestures are also marked by the dramatic changes in dance and culture that followed Ballet has been shaped by the Renaissance and Classicism, the Enlightenment and Romanticism, Bolshevism, Modernism, and the Cold War Apollo s Angels is a groundbreaking work the first cultural history of ballet ever written, lavishly illustrated and beautifully told.Ballet is unique It has no written texts or standardized notation It is a storytelling art passed on from teacher to student The steps are never just the steps they are a living, breathing document of a culture and a tradition And while ballet s language is shared by dancers everywhere, its artists have developed distinct national styles French, Italian, Danish, Russian, English, and American traditions each have their own expression, often formed in response to political and societal upheavals.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 It was in Russia that dance developed into the form most familiar to American audiences The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, and The Nutcracker originated at the Imperial court In the twentieth century, migr 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 is a historian and critic who was also a professional dancer She brings to Apollo s Angels a knowledge of dance born of dedicated practice She traces the evolution of technique, choreography, and performance in clean, clear prose, drawing readers into the intricacies of the art with vivid descriptions of dances and the artists who made them Her admiration and love for the ballet shines through on every page Apollo s Angels is an authoritative work, written with a grace and elegance befitting its subject.

    • Best Read [Jennifer Homans Kirsten Potter] ☆ Apollo's Angels: A History of Ballet || [Music Book] PDF ✓
      186 Jennifer Homans Kirsten Potter
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      Published :2019-09-15T05:08:16+00:00

    142 Comment

    The subtitle, "A History of Ballet," says it clearly, and this is very probably the most definitive, satisfying book of its kind I've come across in years by an observant and savvy insider. Succinct, almost exhaustively detailed (but not, because the details are so interesting), there are two parts, France and the Classical Origins of Ballet, and Light from the East: Russian Worlds of Art. Part 1 has 6 chapters: Kings of Dance; the Enlightenment; French Revolution; Romantic Illusions & Rise [...]

    The history of ballet is presented as beautifully as you could hope. I expected to be bored by descriptions of 16th century court life or the Cecchetti method versus the Vaganova, but this is primarily an account of what ballet has meant to different people at different points in history, and it's fascinating. Some of it was unsurprising; for instance, ballet functioned as a code of mannerisms, to teach nobles how to be really good-looking while walking down the street. What I never knew is that [...]

    Beautiful! Beautiful writing, well compiled A+! This makes me want to dance, it makes me want to see all of the greatest ballets, it makes me want to live eat and breathe ballet. I loved the history, I loved that she explored the connections between ballet and music and I was blown away by the ending. I thought she put together a hard case and then just blasted you at the end with the conclusion. Ballet is a dying art! How many people would quickly jump to defend the great dancers of today, but [...]

    First a bit of a disclaimer: I am merely someone who was fascinated enough with dance and ballet (as a spectator) to look up a book such as this as a way of perhaps becoming better acquainted with the art form. I rented the audiobook version originally to build up some background knowledge for a character in friend's RP that used to be a court dancer in the Renaissance period, but found that I became interested in the history for it's own sake. I have no direct experience as a ballet dancer, nor [...]

    A rather arduous read - Apollo's Angels starts off cumbersomely slow and can be quite dry. It is ironic for a book that has been written by a practitioner of the art, it is incredibly passionless. I love the ballet and I am very interested in its evolution - but this book to me read more as a barely skimming the surface history text. It seems detailed but in reality consists of a lot of space dedicated to two bit players and the political and cultural environments of the era. The book could have [...]

    This would be a great read for someone who doesn't know much about European history or culture but wants to read a 600-page book about ballet. (Whoever that may be.) As for me, I was frustrated by the chapters I read, passim, looking for as good an evocation of dance as I found in the introduction to the book. Instead I mostly found lengthy discussions of court politics, broad historical trends, and analyses of the music and literature of the day. All of which I'm interested in, but also suffici [...]

    This history of ballet is breathtaking in the scope of its research. More than the story of the dancers and choreographers, it places the dance form in the larger context of the times and societies in which it originated and evolved. From the French court to revolutionary Russia to modernist New York, the author takes a deep look at the meaning of ballet and what it reflects about the culture that it represents. She addresses why such an aristocratic art form could establish itself so firmly in [...]

    "Ballet training could easily lapse into a narrow and meaningless set of gymnastics exercises." - Jennifer Homans.Ouch. Someone's not a fan of acro.

    What a great book. A story of the ballet written by a gifted dancer and a historian. Each page delights and enlightens. It is a book to cherish, learn from and delight in.

    To my surprise, this appears to be the first general history of ballet ever written. That's a real shame, because as Homans shows, ballet is more than just another slowly dying elite artform like opera. Not only is it intimately linked to the other cornerstones of Western culture like music, theater, and film, it continues to set the standard for demonstrating how the movement of the body can produce beauty. You don't have to be a ballet fanatic to enjoy this book, but some familiarity helps, as [...]

    As someone who has been in love with ballet all my life and who dances (badly) twice a week, I wanted to love this book. But I didn't.For a book on ballet, it has very little on the actual physical dance itself. I challenge you to find actual ballet terms in French mentioned in most chapters. There is very little on the clothing that is the essence of ballet. How the heck can you write a book about the history of ballet and brush past the development of the pointe shoe, that icon of ballet, or g [...]

    This book ends on a mournful note, the ballerina staring wistfully back to the stage, as she exits stage left. The great composers who lived for the ballet are gone, the great ballet makers have left us, and ballet itself must soon take its final bow. However, as anyone who has seen a ballet will know, that final bow, can last as long as the closing act. The curtain swooshing open to reveal yet another artless arrangement of dancers, thanking us for our patronage.That final chapter of ballet lea [...]

    Attempting to write a comprehensive history about the evolution of ballet is a daunting task; and Ms.Homans acquits herself in grand style. A note though: at 700 pages, this is a fairly detailed read, and it may not appeal much to readers unfamiliar with the ballet world.The authorsketches the tale of ballet from its earliest origins in the European courts- its blossoming under the patronage of Louis the Sun King, the athletic rough-and-tumble style of the Italians, its maturing to be an indepen [...]

    I was so eager to read this book but by the end I was completely bored with it. Yes, it's a history of ballet, but I don't really have a better understanding of the art, even after 550 oversized pages. There was lots of talk of technique and steps, etc, but as a reader I had no baseline understanding of any of these things so I had no idea how they adapted or changed, depending upon the era or artist being discussed. I'm not a dancer, but I appreciate dance and love attending the ballet. The aut [...]

    An enjoyable, thorough (700 pp) review of the history of ballet--accessible even to someone as unversed in the technical language of dance as I (who cannot tell an arabesque from a plie). While the descriptions of the dances and productions themselves didn't always focus on the specifics that I was curious about, I felt that the author did a fine job of conveying features and changes of note, and I felt that I had a good grasp of the evolution of dance when I was done. The most interesting featu [...]

    If you've an interest in ballet, this is the book for you. I enjoyed this book immensely because the extensive history and the fact that from a young age I wished to be a ballerina. It traces the history of this art form from it's very early beginnings to the age of Balanchine and the New York City Ballet. The author speaks, at the end of the book, of the decline of ballet but with hope that the art form will find a new life. I sure hope so!!

    Apollo's Angels: A History of Ballet by Jennifer Homans is excellent. It's definitely for people who are interested in the vocabulary of dance, but it's a very interesting history of Europe from the 15th century onward. Ballet started out as a court art and it transformed itself so fascinatingly through the French Revolution and onward to the present day.* To think that what began with Louis XIV was somehow to become the feather in the cap and pet project of Josef Stalin is pretty remarkable. It [...]

    The hype has been that Homans says ballet is dead (or in a deep sleep) but that’s totally beside the point - it’s not the story she tells. Not only is Apollo’s Angels authoritative and definitive, it’s also the first written history of ballet as a whole. Homans is in a good position to write it, she’s dance critic for the National Review. She was a professional dancer who danced with a number of first class US ballet companies and with a wide range in her repertoire. She is also a PhD [...]

    This book is fun for those who would like to read an exhaustive (~600 page) history of ballet. I have a feeling that statement eliminates at least 90% of readers. If you’re still tuned in, this book is a gem. In the forward the authors states that she is a retired ballerina. No offense, but I had no idea ballerinas were so eloquent. Jennifer Homans takes an enormous amount of information and turns it into a (mostly) coherent narrative. The history of ballet encompasses political, economic, soc [...]

    A mostly great book. Homans traces the history of ballet from the court of Louis XIV in France, through Italy, Denmark, Russia, England, and America. It's like a field of dandelions. Ballet takes root, sprouts, flourishes, and then goes into decline in one place, but the seeds get carried to another place, where it again takes root, sprouts, flourishes, and then goes into decline, but again, the seeds drift to somewhere else. Some of the chapters are a slog, like the chapter on Soviet Russia. Pl [...]

    An astonishing achievement, read it from cover to cover and then bought the audio version which I dip into regularly. A massive sweep from the origins to the present day of the development of ballet, it's not the perfect history, there are glaring omissions in the sections on British ballet and some countries are bypassed altogether, and I don't agree with everything she says. For instance, my bug bear: Kenneth MacMillan is dealt with way too superficially and dismissively - the man was a troubl [...]

    It's hard to write a comprehensive history of anything that is both thorough and engaging, and especially hard when the topic is ballet, which has a history of declining and reemerging at various times in various places around the world. Oh, and it has no system of notation for dance steps, so describing past dances is incredibly challenging.So yeah, Jennifer Homans' project was ambitious -- and she totally nails it.We go from the Sun King's court through the Romantics and Industrial Age, from S [...]

    This book is very very large and full of names and places that I don't know. But that doesn't make me love it less, since i am a history dork. or geek. I learned so much about the history of ballet from its regal origins to the boom in NYC of the 70's and how important Ballanchine is to american dance. I skipped ahead to read the controversial epilogue which was somewhat arrogant in its assumptions. Don't want to ruin too much of it but it said that dance (ballet) was, in a word, stale. I disagr [...]

    This an amazing book - a complete history of ballet written by a trained historian who is also a trained dancer. I had not known anything about ballet with the exception of trips to the Nutcracker as a kid, but reading this got me to look up recordings of the stars on YouTube. The author also is skilled at shifting back and forth between the broad and general, such as ballet in the Cold War era, and the particulars, such as the lives of particular stars to the background behind specific ballets. [...]

    Fascinating history, nor only of ballet, but of the geo-political factors influencing ballet in each major country or time period. While I disagree with her assessment that ballet is at an end-point (I believe it is once again in a period of lull, and will reinvigorate itself in some area of the world), she certainly is much more knowledgeable than and has a clearer viewpoint of the overall arc of ballet. I do wish she had touched slightly on ballet in Cuba; obviously strongly influenced by Russ [...]

    I liked about 98% of this book. The rich history, intriguing tidbits and portraits of the choreographers, dancers, and others who made ballet into what it is today were amazing. I took a lot of notes and marked lots of pages.However, I disagree with Homans' conclusion that ballet is a dying art. I've seen lots of innovative choreography over the years. There are ballet companies everywhere it seems--at least one in every state. To me, ballet seems to be growing and becoming more democratic in it [...]

    Tremendous review and history of ballet, accessible equally to the novice and aficionado. Homans is well-versed in the physicality, the creative and the musicianship necessary for a good performance. Unfortunately, she leaves a bitter taste, as she is convinced ballet is doomed. Worth the read despite the depressing conclusions.

    There aren't enough stars for this book. It was incredible. I love how she wove the history of ballet with the cultural history and changes in Europe. Beautiful writing too. Got it from the library, but I'm also buying my own copy so I'll have the pictures and bibliography.

    This year I again embark on reading each of the books the New York Times has selected as the ten best of the year, and I start with Apollo's Angels, by Jennifer Homans. One of the reasons I like to do this is because I end up reading about things I otherwise never would have. This book, for example, is on a subject I knew hardly anything about: the history of ballet.It is a coincidence that I was reading this book when I saw the wonderful film Black Swan, giving me a double-dunking in the waters [...]

    Sensational. This book is massive in scope, incredibly detailed, and phenomenally written. Homans covers the French origins of ballet, the Italian and Danish variations on the art, the rise of Russian (and Soviet) ballet, and the American impact in the 20th century, particularly (of course) with Balanchine. Homans’ own professional ballet experience is invaluable to this book: her insight and evaluation of each and every choreographer, dancer, and composer is what makes this book so great, and [...]

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