For over twenty years Jack Anderson has been writing about dance performances. His essays and reviews have appeared in daily newspapers, specialist monthlies, and critical quarterlies. For the last ten years he has been a dance critic for the New York Times.
In Choreography Observed, Jack Anderson has selected writings that focus most directly on choreographers and choreography in order to illuminate the delights and problems of dance and to reveal the nature of this nonverbal but intensely expressive art form.
His essays and reviews deal with individual choreographers from Bournonville, Petipa, and Fokine to Balanchine, Paul Taylor, Meredith Monk, and Pina Bausch; individual works are also discussed in detail, such as Nijinsky’s Afternoon of a Faun,Antony Tudor’s Pillar of Fire, Alvin Ailey’s Flowers, and Kei Takei’s Light. Other pieces focus on the Baroque dance revival, contemporary multimedia dance theatre, choreography for men, the complex relationship between ballet and modern dance, and how—and how not—to revive the classics.
No other book—especially no other selection from the work of a single critic—has dealt with choreography in such an original and focused way. Anderson brings his trained eye and wide experience in the arts to bear on dance while stressing the primacy of the choreographer as auteur. By refusing to get bogged down in highly technical terminology, he makes his insights available to a wide range of readers interested in expanding their understanding of this ever more popular art form.