DANCE TO THE PIPER by Agnes De Mille

DANCE TO THE PIPER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A stage personality, in the field of modern ballet, Agnes De Mille writes at somewhat tedious length and detail of her tortuous rise to fame. Modern dance was in a tenuous position twenty years ago. Martha Graham, Katherine Dunham, a host of experimenters outside the realm of the Russian Ballet were making slow headway. Not until 1943 did Agnes De Mille achieve her first great success, with the composer Aaron Copland and ""Rodeo"". She had a sizable backlog of failure, hard work, money borrowing, family troubles and her own emotional problems (of which she talks drearily at great length). But the personal drive behind her work was tremendous. Enhanced with traditional ballet as well as the modern school, she was associated with both, but she made her success in her own style of American modern. She writes with verve about all three schools, describes perceptively the inseparableness of dancer and dancing, the agonies of work and exhaustion, the personality of the true ballerina who must be cut off from the norm of social and sexual life. Unlike Ethel Waters' book, this lacks warmth and vigour. The good passages on dancing, on a few personalities, are scattered. The text in the main is a catalogue of events and people, the kind of detail collecting that only people in the public eye can get away with. This primarily for the balletomane. Illustrated with photographs.

Publisher: Little, Brown-A.M.P.