Rethinking the Sylph: New Perspectives on the Romantic Ballet

Edited by Lynn Garafola

book cover with woman dancerThis collection of original essays brings together a distinguished group of international scholars to illustrate the importance of Romantic ballet within the broad context of Western theatrical dancing. The wide variety of perspectives, from social history to feminism, from psychoanalysis to musicology, serves to illuminate the modernity of Romantic ballet in terms of vocabulary, representation of gender, and iconography. The collection highlights previously unexplored aspects of the Romantic ballet, including its internationalism, its reflection of modern ideas of nationalism through the use and creation of national dance forms, its construction of an exotic-erotic hierarchy and proto-Orientalist "other," its transformation of social relations from clan to class, and the repercussions of its feminization as an art form. This generously illustrated book offers a wealth of rare archival material, including prints, costume designs, music, and period reviews, some translated into English for the first time.

"This …book treats an important period from a number of fresh points of view, letting new methods of study shed light on events that are now almost taken for granted. If anyone in academia is questioning the present scholarly status of dance, these essays will banish their doubts." – Selma Jeanne Cohen

"There is nothing in print with the depth of scholarship, diverse points of view, or range of material offered by this fascinating and exciting book. It is much needed." – Barbara Barker

Lynn Garafola is a well-known author and editor of dance studies. She is a co-editor of Dance for a City: Fifty Years of the New York City Ballet (Columbia University Press, 1999) and The Ballets Russes and Its World (Yale University Press, 1999).

Title: Rethinking the Sylph
Editor: Lynn Garafola
Pub date: 1997
7 x 10 in., 288 pp. 94 illus.
ISBN 0-8195-6326-9

SDHS publications

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