Apollo's Angels

Apollo's Angels : A History Of Ballet

3.97 (1,442 ratings by Goodreads)
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Apollo's Angels is a major new history of classical ballet. It begins in the courts of Europe, where ballet was an aspect of aristocratic etiquette and a political event as much as it was an art. The story takes the reader from the sixteenth century through to our own time, from Italy and France to Britain, Denmark, Russia and contemporary America. The reader learns how ballet reflected political and cultural upheavals, how dance and dancers were influenced by the Renaissance and French Classicism, by Revolution and Romanticism, by Expressionism and Bolshevism, Modernism and the Cold War.

Homans shows how and why 'the steps' were never just the steps: they were a set of beliefs and a way of life. She takes the reader into the lives of dancers and traces the formal evolution of technique, choreography and performance. Her book ends by looking at the contemporary crisis in ballet now that 'the masters are dead and gone' and offers a passionate plea for the centrality of classical dance in our civilization. Apollo's Angels is a book with broad popular appeal: beautifully written and illustrated, it is essential reading for anyone interested in history, culture and art.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 672 pages
  • 140 x 215 x 47mm | 778g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1847082564
  • 9781847082565
  • 76,021

Review quote

"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"
"A delight to read, massively informed yet remarkably agile . . . The story of ballet offers a singular perspective on the evolution of our culture: a fascinating mirror on the arts. Nowhere is this narrative told more amply and compellingly than in Jennifer Homans's triumphant "Apollo's Angels.""--"The Washington Post"
"Here is a book of immense ambition--a one-volume history of ballet--and of considerable accomplishment. Jennifer Homans, whom we know primarily as "The New Republic"'s provocative dance critic, shows herself to be both dogged and graceful as a historian--a rare and welcome combination of qualities."--"The New York Review of Books"
"Intellectually rigorous, beautifully written, brilliantly structured."--"San Francisco Chronicle"
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"Magnificent . . . [a] monumental w "It has never been done before, what Jennifer Homans has done in "Apollo's Angels." She has written the only truly definitive history of the most impossibly fantastic art form, ballet....Homans accomplishment is akin to setting the most delicate and beautiful of all the imperial Faberge eggs into a fissure high on Mount Rushmore and tracking its unlikely survival...Inspired...The story of Balanchine has been told before, and at greater lengths, but never better...An eloquent and lasting elegy to an unlasting art."
"A tour de force...the publication of "Apollo's Angels" is itself a moment in the magnificent history of classical dance."
"Magisterial..." Apollo's Angels" is a cultural history of the highest order...Homans brings to the page a practical knowledge gained in an earlier career as a dancer. Thus she leaps easily from big picture political trends in one sentence to the minutiae o
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About Jennifer Homans

Jennifer Homans was a professional dancer who trained at the School of American Ballet. When she retired from dancing, she studied European and American cultural history at Columbia and New York Universities and then turned to dance criticism. She lives in New York City with her family.
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Rating details

1,442 ratings
3.97 out of 5 stars
5 32% (468)
4 41% (588)
3 20% (287)
2 5% (73)
1 2% (26)
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