International Encyclopedia of Dance: A Project of Dance Perspectives (6 Volume Set)

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9780195094626: International Encyclopedia of Dance: A Project of Dance Perspectives (6 Volume Set)

Since the dawn of human history, dance has been a vital form of expression in virtually every culture. From the minuet to the tango to kabuki theater to square dancing, it is a part of the social fabric of all societies, as well as an important art form. Now, Oxford presents the first reference to document all types of dance around the world and throughout history.
In six volumes, with nearly 2,000 articles written by scholars from over fifty countries, the Encyclopedia offers authoritative coverage of the full spectrum of dance, including theatrical, ritual dance-drama, folk, traditional, ethnic, and social dance. Extensive historical and cultural overviews of many nations appear along with articles on specific dance forms, music and costumes, performances, biographies of dancers and choreographers, and much more. The set is alphabetically arranged, with an exhaustive index, full cross-references, and more than 2,300 illustrations.
Amazing in its scope and dazzling in its diversity, the Encyclopedia is like no other reference work on dance. Accessibly written and arranged for use by a wide audience, it is an essential addition to any arts and humanities collection.

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Since ancient times, dance has been an integral part of nearly every culture. Theatrical, social, and ritual dances are performed around the globe and through the pages of history. Lincoln Kirstein observed in the introduction to The Dance Encyclopedia (Simon & Schuster, 1967, now out of print) that "The art of dance in performance bears slight reference to words on a printed page, or even pictures, except as jogs to memory." The collective unconscious itself will be stirred by this rich, wide-ranging work.

Particular types of dance, especially ballet, have been previously served by reference books, but works embracing all manner of dance in all countries in all time periods are in much shorter supply. Simon and Schuster's Dance Encyclopedia covered various kinds of dance, individual dancers, dance companies, and other dance topics, albeit in a much more abbreviated form. The International Dictionary of Ballet [RBB Ja 15 94] was a larger treatment, but concentrated on classical ballet (individual artists, ballets, and ballet companies) and select modern choreographers. For size, scope, and quality of scholarship there simply isn't anything comparable to the International Encyclopedia of Dance (IED).

Conceived at a 1974 meeting of the Dance Critics' Association, this remarkable creation survived a long period of gestation. Two years after that meeting, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) awarded a grant to the Dance Perspectives Foundation for a scholarly planning conference for the undertaking. Grants from many individuals and several national foundations followed, and now, some two decades (and several publishers) later, the project has finally been realized. A distinguished Editorial Board, headed by Selma Jeanne Cohen, and hundreds of experts on dance, anthropology, art, music, folklore, philosophy, and other fields have produced a singular work.

From Abraxas to the Zurich Ballet, a remarkable variety of dances, dancers, and dance topics are represented. Here you will find Mark Morris as well as Morris Dance, Tommy Tune as well as Tamara Toumanova, and Carmen Miranda as well as Natalia Makarova. Not only are there articles on dances of historical interest, such as the minuet, courante, pavan, and galliard, but dances of nearly every type imaginable, including round, step, square, fan, ice, and break. Surveys of dance in countries from Afghanistan to Yugoslavia offer historical, cultural, and aesthetic overviews. These articles often address dance research and publication, and education and criticism in the country surveyed.

Numerous high-quality photographs and illustrations punctuate the thoroughly cross-referenced text. Other noteworthy features are the bibliographies (and sometimes videographies) often appended to the articles. Overall, the tone is scholarly but not pedantic, resulting in a text that is accessible to a wide variety of readers.

IED embodies the dictionary definition of an encyclopedia: "A comprehensive reference work containing articles on a wide range of subjects or on numerous aspects of a particular field. . . ." (American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Houghton Mifflin, 1992). So many facets of dance are reflected in this jewel of a work that the effect is truly dazzling. In a time when lip service is often paid to the ideas of cultural diversity and inclusiveness, this is a publication that delivers what is promised. Content as well as contributors represent a true world view--aspects of dance in more than 100 countries are written about by more than 600 writers representing some 50 nations. Dance as ceremony and ritual in religious as well as social and cultural traditions is covered here, as are the related topics of music, scenic design, dance notation, costumes, aesthetics, and training.

There has never been a dance reference work with such a wide-ranging outlook presented in such a carefully planned and executed format. Headings and subheadings are used to break down lengthy articles into manageable sections of text. An extensive system of cross-references and blind entries guides the reader through the text, providing ease of access to specific points of information. The index is exhaustive, and, in the tradition of the great encyclopedias, is accompanied by a synoptic outline of the entire contents.

This set will be indispensable for dance and performing arts research collections. Larger reference collections looking to expand their coverage of the world's cultures will find it of great value. Terpsichore was never served so well by a reference tool!

Review:


"The springy athleticism captured here is a trademark of House's highly musical choreography. Indeed, they often impart meaty information pertinent to the article in question. One of the chief pleasures of reading the IED"S biographical articles is that it's authors write of their subjects with liveliness, sympathy and even affection. Among the most compelling of these essays on topics related to dance are those which explain how to put it on the stage, and they bring a sense of immediacy that underscores the flesh-and-blood aliveness of the art." Journal of American Musicological Society


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Published by Oxford University Press (1998)
ISBN 10: 019509462X ISBN 13: 9780195094626
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