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THE DANCE MAKERS: Conversations with American Choreographers by Elinor Rogosin

THE DANCE MAKERS: Conversations with American Choreographers


Pub Date: June 16th, 1980
Publisher: Walker

Transcripts of 1970s radio interviews with twelve choreographers--plus background information, rehearsal scenes, and updated commentaries. Ted Shawn, shortly before his death, remembers his battles for the respectability of male dancing. Charles Weidman recalls influences: Denishawn, Doris Humphrey (""always up, up, up"") vs. Martha Graham (""more or less always more on the earth""). Graham herself is predictably direct and eloquent: ""I was evidently born with this ability to use fabric, material, veils, anything, and I had no fear."" Erick Hawkins stresses the music/dance blend, the crucial aliveness of both: ""The people have got to come to the theatre and see you sweat."" Alwin Nikolais rambles through ecology, emotions, sensations, and ""the mystical thing."" Alvin Alley's rather unrevealing responses are interspersed with breathy comments from four Alley dancers. Glen Tetley discusses the oddity of being the first principal dancer to perform simultaneously with both American Ballet Theatre and Graham (""one world is asking for more gravity and one world is asking for more air""). And Twyla Tharp defends her jazzy As Time Goes By ballet, vehemently wanting to be perceived as a classicist: ""It's wanting to deal with something that is enduring, that has value. It's not wanting to buy a really cheap chair, it's wanting to buy a really good chair, and to use that really good chair every day. . ."" Rogosin's assessments of the artists tend to be blandly familiar, ocassionally starry-eyed; and the disjointed format sloshes trivia and profundities all together. But, for dance fans who already know the basic footwork--some provocative material amid all the chatter.