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Annotated Bibliography

Copeland, Roger and Marshall Cohen, editors.
What is Dance? Readings in Dance Theory and Criticism.
Oxford University Press. Oxford. 1983.

As the jacket cover says: "Here is the most comprehensive and best organized anthology of dance writings ever assembled."   The book contains excerpts from SIXTY essays written on all aspects of dance.  Worth browsing through.


Dart, Mary McNab.
Contra Dance Choreography.
Garland Publishing, New York. 1995.

A tremendously expensive book ($75).  A Ph.D. thesis which was not written to be sold -- but for Contra Dancers THIS IS THE BOOK YOU MUST READ.  THE BEST BOOK ON CALLING. THE BEST BOOK ON WRITING CONTRAS.  Have your library acquire it on inter-library loan.  You must read this book -- and it quotes people you know: Don Theyken, Steve Zakon, George Marshall....


Highwater, Jamake.
Dance: Rituals of Experience.
Alfred van der Marck Editions. New York.  1985.

An odd, personal, highly idiosyncratic work.  Full of interesting opinions, beautiful pictures, but mostly on modern (ballet) dance.


Jonas, Gerald.
Dancing: The Power of Dance Around the World.
BBC. 1993

 This is the companion book to a television series (which I have not seen).  A wonderful book.  Probably (except for Sachs) the most intelligent book on all aspects of dance.  Lucidly written, and lots of large, astonishingly beautiful, pictures.  Most libraries will have a copy.

Keller, Kate Van Winkle, and Genevieve Shimer.
The Playford Ball: 103 Early Country Dances 1651-7828.
The Country Dance & Song Society. Second Edition. 1994.

Ninety per cent of this book is  the dances -- the moves & the music.  A charming book because there is a short history of each dance -- and a nicely written, short (six page) history of how Cecil Sharpe discovered these dances around 100 years ago.  A must buy for any English Country Dance caller.


Nevell, Richard.
A Time to Dance: American Country Dancing from Hornpipes to Hot Hash.
St. Martin's Press. New York. 1977.

When I first read this (and it was the first book on Contras I read) I loved it.  I thought it was the most intelligent explanation of the Contra dance phenomenon I had ever read.  I was thoroughly enchanted.  I have since read much more and this book is badly flawed, more anecdotal (it does tell good stories) than correctly historical.  Bob Dalsemer alerted me to inaccuracies in the text -- especially the section on Morris dancing.


Parkes, Tony.
Contra Dance Calling: A Basic Text.
Hands Four Books. Bedford, Massachusetts.  1992.

As the title says, this is the basic text for beginning Contra callers.  A very thorough book.  Not all callers need to buy this book (some of the advice is obvious), but all callers must read this book cover to cover.


Sachs, Curt.
World History of the Dance.
W.W. Norton. New York. 1937.

Though this is the oldest of the books, it is the most thorough, the "mother" of all subsequent dance criticism.  It is not a book one reads cover to cover, but certain sections are absolutely brilliant.  There is much within the book about music as well as dance.  A must read (browse).

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Copyright 2001
Henry Morgenstein


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