Edwin Denby (1903-1983) was the most important and influential American dance critic of the 20th century. His reviews and essays were possessed of a voice, vision, and passion as compelling and inspiring as his subject. As dance critic, first for "Modern Music" and then for the "New York Herald Tribune," Denby permanently changed the way we think ...Read MoreEdwin Denby (1903-1983) was the most important and influential American dance critic of the 20th century. His reviews and essays were possessed of a voice, vision, and passion as compelling and inspiring as his subject. As dance critic, first for "Modern Music" and then for the "New York Herald Tribune," Denby permanently changed the way we think and talk about dance. This volume presents his reviews from "Modern Music" and the "Tribune" in chronological order, providing not only a picture of how Denby's dance theories and reviewing methods evolved, but also an informal history of the dance in New York from 1936 through 1945. The reviews glimpse the vanished dancers and dances that were most particularly of their time, especially Alicia Markova, Alexandra Danilova, Martha Graham, and George Balanchine. It was Balanchine on whom Denby focused after he left the "Tribune," and all of his post-"Tribune" writings on Balanchine and the New York City Ballet are presented here in one section, providing a history of the early artistic development of the company and of Balanchine himself, while also showing Denby's most eloquent and deeply felt writing. Finally there are his post-1945 reviews, essays, and lectures on such general dance subjects as the phenomenon of a truly good leap, classicism in ballet, and dance criticism itself. Courtly, unassertive but precise, concerned, concise and sometimes severe in his criticism, Denby was convinced that dance was not only a social and physical activity but also a joyous, moral one that "affirmed the beauty of the human spirit." As well as his exemplary artists Denby also wrote with care and generosity about dancers as varied as Nijinsky, Pearl Primus, Merce Cunningham and Sonja Henie. Cornfield's introduction is both appreciative and discerning; Mackay's biography sensitively describes a poet, dancer, novelist, translator and critic of high standards who was widely liked and admired. Essential for serious balletomanes.Read Less
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