Dance : Rituals of Experience

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This book presents a powerful view of the history of dance, contrasting its role in Western civilization with its significance in other cultures. Highwater--a renowned critic, author, and lecturer on art, theater, music, and dance--links the history of dance to cultural forces as diverse as Karl Marx and Elvis Presley. Beginning with the original, ritualistic, and primal forms of dance, he traces its decline into empty ceremonial forms while all along insisting that dance is a fundamental life impulse made visible in motion--a spontaneous transformation of experience into metaphoric meaning. Considering the historical and creative context from which dance emerged, Highwater goes on to point out the specific contributions and cultural influences of such 20th-century dance giants as Isadora Duncan, Twyla Tharp, Robert Wilson, George Balanchine, Martha Graham, Alwin Nikolais, Erick Hawkins, Jose Limon, Merce Cunningham, Meredith Monk, and Garth Fagan. Also examined are many newer artists, such as Bebe Miller and the Urban Bush more

Product details

  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 218.44 x 287.02 x 20.32mm | 521.63g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 3rd edition
  • 0195112059
  • 9780195112054

Review quote

"Jamake Highwater has emerged as...a successor to Joseph Campbell, exploring and celebrating the function of myth and ritual as being no less important in modern art and life than in indigenous cultures."--San Francisco Chronicle"Whether he's writing about pop music, modern dance, or American Indians, Jamake Highwater is a superb writer."--San Francisco Review of Books"Absolutely fascinating!"--Cleveland Press"Vastly informative....Stimulating....He manages to put and amazingly sensible history of dance in an extraordinarily few pages....Highwater's gifts are...impressive."--Dance Magazine"Highwater rescues the art from the discussions of aesthetic niceties in which it is so often enclosed to make us see the real world where human values propel or thwart its ritualizing drive."--The Washington Post"It never loses its magic or the compelling quality of Highwater's voice....Seduces the reader into believing one can almost pin down the elusive magic of movement with the alchemy of words."--Dance Pages/Library Research Associates"This is a most interesting attempt to analyze dance from a fresh viewpoint, to tear away the superstructure built by years of Western dance conventions and get down to basics. Some may find the idea controversial, but clearly Highwater has important things to say and says them well."--Publishers Weeklyshow more

About Jamake Highwater

Jamake Highwater is the author of over twenty books, including the award-winning Myth and Sexuality and The Primal Mind. He has written for The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Vogue, Esquire, and The Christian Science Monitor, and has been a lecturer at Columbia University and New York more

Rating details

7 ratings
4 out of 5 stars
5 57% (4)
4 14% (1)
3 14% (1)
2 0% (0)
1 14% (1)
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