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Apollo's Angels: A History of Ballet

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

The life and "death" of Ballet

The Jennifer Homans's history of Ballet

The unconventional in the Jennifer Homan’s book is how she approaches the history of ballet, and in what way she takes importance in politics and culture facts to attend the body’s manifestation, a fundamental matter in ballet. In “Apollo’s Angels”, Ms. Homans says that classical dance has everything into the world history, confirming her writing skills, since the ballet has been traced from the time of it origins.  

Ms. Homans spent 10 years in researches and writing process, what made her be able to build a relate from ballet’s roots in the 16th century in France, going through important humanity movements like the Bolshevism and the Cold War. Thus the “Apollo’s Angels” are divided in two parts; the first take place in its classical origins, like the French Revolution, following the Danish Style and the Italian influence. Then in the second part presents the Imperial Russian Classicism settling a place at the modernity of New York’s scene.

However, the previous ballerina in all the time careful treated the history construction, she give us a surprise in her epilogue, which has been commented by many critics widely. Ms. Homans is also a dance critic for The New Republic since more than 10 years, and have worked for many other consecrate media vehicles. Then through accumulating that enormous experience she could forebode a melancholic future for Ballet. As in the epilogue she sets her testimony under the sad believing of ballet’s future death, through the forewarning title “The Masters are dead and gone”, when she occasioned a big reply from a plenty professionals in the area.

Claudia La Rocco in the web magazine “Slate” wrote an article questioning the real dying of ballet. The Is Ballet Really Dying? has been written principally under that quotation “the occasional glimmer of a good performance or a fine dancer is not a ray of future hope but the last glow of a dying ember” taken from the Jennifer Homans’ epilogue. Claudia La Rocco does not understand how a person who dedicated in write 550 pages can proclaim a dead of an art form, and by her opinion it is a formula to Jennifer Homans insert her own personal experience inside the book. 

The Slate’s critic affirmation makes sense when we take a look in the Jennifer Homan’s life history, leading us directly to her personal concern of constructing an academic conception to Ballet. As she began her Ballet classes at the age of 8, continuing up to the time when she completed 13, then taking part at the University of Chicago Ballet Group, where also she has a method influence from a former dancer from National Ballet of Canada who also was pursuing a doctorate in physics.

Later she left Chicago looking for a new point of view to her career, thus she also studied at the North Carolina School of the Arts and School of American Ballet, but the fact of losing a place in the City Ballet by an injury, and just at the moment which Balanchine made his annual dancer choice, made her change the focus of attention. Despite Ms. Homans hoped for this experience with Balanchine, she contour that infelicity deciding to go to the San Francisco Ballet and then finishing her formal dancer role after four years dancing for the Pacific Northwest Ballet, when at the age of 26 she took the stop decision.

It is the moment when the “Apollo’s Angels” started his conception, proving that Jennifer Homans stopping decision was not a conclusion to abandon ballet, was an act to see the ballet in a different perspective, through the academic world. 


Apollo's Angel: History of Ballet

Sleeping Beauty(80457)
Credit: The Great Ballets of Rudolf Nureyev
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Bibliography

  1. Jennifer Homans Apollo's Angels: a history of Ballet. New York: Random House, 2010.

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