Synopses & Reviews
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 Women.
"Vastly informative...Stimulating...He manages to put an 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. Highwater has a sound aesthetic theory." The Washington Post
The phenomenon of dance is timeless. Expressing an indescribable sacredness that touches people the world over, dance is much more than simply the physical movements of the body: it is a moving font of experience that flows from a culture's earliest perceptions of itself and the environment from which it was born.
Dance: Rituals of Experience, Third Edition presents a powerful view of the history of dance which contrasts its role in Western civilization with its significance in other cultures.
About the Author
Jamake Highwater is the author of over thirty 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 University.