THE WORLD OF DANCE by Melvin Berger


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Early circle dances are probably related to the shapes of the earliest dwellings; people who dance in rows or lines often live in square or rectangular huts. . . . All peoples who go in for convulsive dancing have witch-doctor or medicine-man cultures. . . . Leap dancers usually live in mountainous or hilly regions and are herders with patriarchal societies. Such ideas are interesting but, except for Alan Lomax' association of types of arm movements with the sophistication of a society's means of production, Berger gives no hint as to where they come from or to what extent his generalizations represent speculation, accepted theory, or (as his manner suggests) recognized fact. At any rate this approach is not carried through the more routine history of dance from ancient Egypt through the Middle Ages and Renaissance to the present, although he does try, in a more conventional way, to relate developments in dance to those in other arts and to the general climate of the times--until modern times where the history degenerates to a roundup of names (of dancers, dances, choreographers, companies) with just a few tag characterizations. (Even at that, do ""liveliness"" and ""energy"" give the most accurate impression of Twyla Tharp's style?) Overall, an odd mixture of textbookish survey with ideas that demand more sophisticated treatment.

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 1979
ISBN: 0875992218
Publisher: S. G. Phillips