Democracy's Body Judson Dance Theatre, 1962-1964 Synopsis
Democracy's Body offers a lively, detailed account of the beginnings of the Judson Dance Theater--a popular center of dance experimentation in New York's Greenwich Village--and its place in the larger history of the avant-garde art scene of the 1960s. JDT started when Robert Dunn, a student of John Cage, offered a dance composition class in Merce Cunningham's studio. The performers--many of whom included some of the most prominent figures in the arts in the early sisties--found a welcome performance home in the Judson Memorial Church in the Village. Sally Banes's account draws on interviews, letters, diaries, films, and reconstructions of dances to paint a portrait of the rich culture of Judson, which was the seedbed for postmodern dance and the first avant-garde movement in dance theater since the modern dance of the 1930s and 1940s. Originally published in 1983, this edition brings back into print a highly regarded work of dance history.
Democracy's Body Judson Dance Theatre, 1962-1964 Press Reviews
Sally Banes is one of the most influential dance historians in America right now. The Judson Era, which Democracy's Body examines in meticulous detail, is a key moment in American dancing. -Mindy Aloff, Dance Critic, The New Yorker Ms. Banes is widely respected as the leading scholar/historian writing about this seminal and neglected period of contemporary dance history. . . Her books are indispensable for any serious dance historian or student of this era. . . Democracy's Body is the type of inaugural survey of a period of art that will undoubtedly inspire other books. -Janice Ross, Stanford University Anyone interested in choreography or methods of teaching composition must have this book on the shelf. . . Th[is] book is crucial in understanding our history and in appreciating the shape of dance today. Dancers and choreographers need to read it to learn about their heritage, historians to discover clarity about a rambunctious and exciting period of dance history that has been fuzzy with myth and misunderstanding. . . It must be read. -Sally Sommer, Dance Research Journal (from a review of the 1983 edition)