Dance for a City

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Since its inception fifty years ago the New York City Ballet has been a vital force in American dance and an essential component of American cultural life. As the vehicle for the development and expression of George Balanchine's immensely influential artistic vision — as well as that of other eminent choreographers — the company has created a vast and significant body of work. Its dancers, choreographers, and artistic directors have seeded new dance companies around the nation, disseminating both the NYCB's repertory and its lofty standards of virtuosity. The company's numerous close ties with the overlapping New York artistic and intellectual worlds have played an important part in the foundation of many of the artistic movements of the twentieth century. Exploring these and other achievements with critical acumen, Dance for a City — produced in conjunction with a major exhibition at the New-York Historical Society — examines the rich history, cultural significance, and continuing accomplishments of America's premier ballet company.

Lavishly illustrated with a wide range of extraordinary photographs, this collection of essays — edited by dance scholar and exhibition curator Lynn Garafola and historian Eric Foner — takes a new and provocative look at the history of the New York City Ballet, placing it within the context of the city's changing intellectual and cultural life and underscoring its role in the development of a distinctly American aesthetic. Drawing on the perspectives of dance scholars, urbanists, musicologists, art historians, and scholars of gay history, Dance for a City explores the many art forms and artistic figures associated with the company, revealing the complex forces that contributed to its success, its representation in the broader cultural milieu, and its formative role in American dance during the past half-century.

Dance for a City includes:

• Lynn Garafola's interpretive history of the New York City Ballet, beginning with its origins in the 1930s

• urban historian Thomas Bender on the company's place in postwar intellectual life

• dance historian Sally Banes on the New York City Ballet's surprising relationship with modern dance

• musicologist Charles M. Joseph on the sources of Agon, George Balanchine's avant-garde masterpiece of the 1950s

• Richard Sennett on the New York City Ballet audience of the 1960s as it appeared to an aspiring musician

• art historian Jonathan Weinberg on the ballet photographs of photographer George Platt Lynes

• an unpublished interview with George Balanchine by Nancy Reynolds

• a portfolio of photographs of Jerome Robbins

• the first complete list of Jerome Robbins's ballets and musicals

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (April 15, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231115466
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231115469
  • Product Dimensions: 11.4 x 8.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds

Customer Reviews

Arranged as a work of art in itself.

10 people found this helpful.
 on May 26, 1999
By Anne Holliday (
Editors Foner & Garafola fearlessly navigate the sacred and jealously guarded minefield of dance history resulting in text and images arranged as a work of art in itself.

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