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Free Acting Books PDF – Theater – Dance – Performing Arts

Free Acting Books PDF - Theater - Dance - Performing Arts

Get Acting books. Free acting books. Hundreds of pdf books on acting, performing arts, theater, dance. Borrow them free online.

Book Collections on the Performing Arts

Books on the Performing Arts – Collection

Free books on Performing Arts. Some books: Variety History of Show Business, Performing Arts, Whatever Became Of?, Analyzing Performance: a critical reader, Entertainment Awards: a music, cinema, theatre and broadcasting reference 1928-1993, Opportunities in Performing Arts Careers, 100 Acting Jobs for Actors, How to Be Your Own Booking Agent, Roger Ebert’s Movie Yearbook 2011, Choreography and the Specific Image, Trouping: how the show came to town, many more.

Theatre History – Collection

Free Theater History books pdf. Some books: History of the Theater free online, History of World Theater, Modern Drama and the Rhetoric of Theater, African American Performance and Theater, Shakespeare’s Globe theater, Shakespeare and the Theater, The Radio City Music Hall, Stages of Drama: classical to contemporary theater, Shaw’s Theater, Short History of Opera, Greater Boston Community Theater, Life in the Elizabethan Theater, Latin American Women Dramatists, Pictorial History of Vaudeville, Complete Book of the American Musical Theater, many more.

See the Menu at the top of every page for Directories of Free Online Fiction and NonFiction Books, Magazines, and more, on 400 pages like this at Century Past

20th Century American Drama – History & Criticism Collection

Books on 20th Century American Drama – History & Criticism. Some books: American Realism and American Drama, Modern American Drama, Contemporary American Playwrights, Latin American Women on/in Stages, American Women Playwrights 1900-1950, Interviews with Contemporary American Playwrights, Left-Wing Dramatic Theory in the American Theater, Broadway Theatre, The Back Stage Book of Longest-Running Broadway Shows 1884 to the Present, many more.

Books about Musicals – Books on Broadway Musicals – Collection

Books about Musical Theatre free from the Internet Archive. Some books: Broadway’s Greatest Musicals, How to Choose the Right Show for your School or Community, Encyclopedia of the Musical Theatre, George Gershwin’s Song book, My Fair Lady: a musical play in two acts, Song and Dance: the complete story of stage, Fiddler on the Roof, Broadway Stories: a backstage journey, The Broadway Musical: a complete LP discography, The Producers: the new Mel Brooks musical, many more.

Books about Operas – Opera History Books – Collection

About 850 books about Opera from the Internet Archive. Some books: The Book of European Light Opera, The Opera Libretto Library, Penguin Guide to Opera on Compact Disc, Opera Guide, Great Operas in Synopsis, Crowell’s Handbook of World Opera, Opera Themes and Plots, Stories of Gilbert and Sullivan Operas, Opera: the rough guide, Fifty Favorite Operas, The Ring of the Nibelung, The Mikado, Opera: a pictorial guide, Beginner’s Guide to Opera, Opera Companion to 20th Century Opera, many more.

Books on Dance – Collection

Books on Dance and Dance History. Some books: The Dance Experience: readings in dance, Preparing for Dance, Enjoying the Arts: dance, African and Asian Dance, Group Instruction in Social Dancing, Modern Dance for the Youth of America, Step-by-Step Instruction for Ballroom Latin Country & more, Jazz Dance, The Black Tradition in American Dance, Oxford Dictionary of Dance, many more.

Square Dance Books and Documents – Collection

This collection has books and other documents on square dances, contra dances, mixers, line dances, round dances, etc. Some titles: Year Book of Square and Round Dancing, Teaching New Dancers, Choreography Gimmicks, Quick-Teach Fun Dances for Recreational Groups, Specialized Squares and Crowd Pleasers, Cowboy Dances, Waltz Quadrilles, Hoedown Heritage.

Books on Ballet – Collection

Books on Ballet from the Internet Archive. Some books: Technical Manual and Dictionary of Classical Ballet, Ballet Annual, Ballet: how it all began, I am a Dancer, The Magic of Ballet, Concise Encyclopedia of Ballet, Introduction to Classical Ballet, Ballet for Boys and Girls, First Steps in Ballet: basic barre exercises for home, Young Person’s Guide to Ballet, World of Ballet, Ballet is a Contact Sport, many more.

More Collections on Theater and Dance Topics

Selected Acting Books

CORE BOOKS – Acting Books

Stella Adler: The Art of Acting

Adler, Stella
Applause 2000

Stella Adler is arguably the most important teacher of acting in American history. The great voice finally ended in the early Nineties, but her decades of experience and teaching have been brilliantly encapsulated by Howard Kissel in the lessons in this book. The groundbreaking theories of the great acting teacher who influenced such outstanding actors as Marlon Brando, Robert DeNiro & Warren Beatty are now made available for a wide audience. Stella Adler The Art of Acting.

See the Menu at the top of every page for Directories of Free Online Fiction and NonFiction Books, Magazines, and more, on 400 pages like this at Century Past

The Best Stage Scenes

Beard, Jocelyn A. (ed.)
Smith & Kraus

Annual volumes from 1992 to 2006 (not all). Acting pdf books free to download.

The Ultimate Audition Book: 222 Monologues 2 Minutes & Under (Vol 1)

(Vol 2)

Beard, Jocelyn A. (ed.)
Smith & Kraus 1997 & 2002

These two volumes are from different editions; 1997 and 2002.

The Actor’s Wheel of Connection: How to Integrate Your Skills and Refine Your Performance

Brestoff, Richard
Smith & Kraus 2005

Puts together the craft of acting for the actor. You’ll experience no more conflict between inner and outer technique; no more conflict between personal truth and character; no more barrier between actor and audience. Using exercises and a unique troubleshooting section after each chapter, The Actor’s Wheel of Connection offers a complete, comprehensive, and graspable new approach to acting that includes the entire chain of performance – from personal truth to audience reception.

The Great Acting Teachers and Their Methods

Brestoff, Richard
Smith & Kraus 1995

Explores the acting theories and teaching methods of the great teachers of acting–among them Stanislavski, Adler, Meyerhold, Strasberg, Meisner, Brecht, Grotowski and Suzuki. Each chapter includes sample class, which gives the reader a feel for how the different teachers acommplished their objectives, and thereby equip the reader to choose among them. And in addition, this book takes a look at some of the premiere actor training institutions in the United States and assesses what is being taught there today.

104 Scenes for 4 Actors

Chandler, Wilma Marcus, ed.
Smith & Kraus 2001

An invaluable resource for actors, directors, and teachers. These collections of scenes are selected from the full canon of dramatic literature, from the Greeks to the Moderns and from around the world.

To the Actor: On the Technique of Acting

Chekhov, Michael
Barnes & Noble 1985 Dewey Dec. 792

This handbook for professional and amateur actors and directors provides simple and practical methods to train actors to quickly and effectively call up emotion, develop characters, and strengthen awareness. On the Technique of Acting.

Respect for Acting

Hagen, Uta
Wiley 2008

Hagen’s blueprint for the actor, her design for “enlightened stage acting.” This classic book has helped generations of actors hone their craft. Hagen draws on her own struggle with the techniques of acting as well as her decades of teaching experience to break down the areas in which actors can work and search for realities in themselves that serve the character and the play. This approach helps actors to be specific in their actions in order to communicate an artistic statement.

LibraryThing Reviews

They Fight: Classical to Contemporary Stage Fight Scenes

Hamill, Kyna
Smith & Kraus 2003

The Best Men’s Stage Monologues

Harbison, Lawrence, ed.
Smith & Kraus

Annual volumes from 2000 to 2016 (not all).

See our Free Music Books PDF

The Best Women’s Stage Monologues

Harbison, Lawrence, ed.
Smith & Kraus

Annual volumes from 1990 to 2014.

The Actor Uncovered : A Life in Acting

Howard, Michael
Allworth 2016

The Actor Uncovered is certainly not a set of rigid rules advocating one “method” or one singular “truth.” Departing from the common guidebook format, Michael Howard uses a unique approach to teaching acting, reflecting on his own history and sharing his own experiences as an actor, director, and teacher. How he writes about the process and craft of acting is at once intensely personal and relatable by others.

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True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor

Mamet, David
Knopf Doubleday 2011

Invent nothing, deny nothing, speak up, stand up, stay out of school. With these words, one of our most brilliantly iconoclastic playwrights takes on the art of profession of acting, in a book that is as shocking as it is practical, as witty as it is instructive, and as irreverent as it is inspiring. David Mamet takes a jackhammer to the idols of contemporary acting, while revealing the true heroism and nobility of the craft. He shows actors how to undertake auditions and rehearsals, deal with agents and directors, engage audiences, and stay faithful to the script, while rejecting the temptations that seduce so many of their colleagues.

LibraryThing Reviews – True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor

The Ultimate Audition Book for Teens 2: 111 One-Minute Monologues

McCullough, L.E.
Smith & Kraus 2000

Audition book pdf.

See our Types of Physical Fitness PDF books

Training an Actor: The Stanislavski System in Class

Moore, Sonia
Penguin 1979

On Acting

Olivier, Lawrence
Simon & Schuster 1987

In this extraordinary and revealing book, the greatest actor of our century shares his innermost thoughts about the craft he has mastered and the profession he passionately loves. A unique guided tour of the techniques of acting.

Acting as a Business

O’Neil, Brian
Heinemann 1999

An indispensable tool for working and aspiring actors. Avoiding the usual advice about persistence and luck, Brian O’Neil provides clear-cut guidelines that will give actors a solid knowledge of the business behind their art. It’s packed with practical information—on everything from what to say in a cover letter to where to stand when performing in an agent’s office.

Toward Mastery: An Acting Class with Nikos Psacharopoulos

Psacharopoulos, Nikos
Smith & Kraus 1998

What makes for great acting? Nikos Psacharopoulos answers the question here, as he leads his students “toward mastery” on a journey not for the faint of heart. In a dynamic series of classes at Yale and NYU, Nikos tests his charges’ talent, intellect, and courage. With wit and vitriol, persuasion and bottomless energy, Nikos instills in his students the conviction that the authentic qualities behind great acting are as teachable as the most basic technical tools.

Acting is a Job : Real-Life Lessons about the Acting Business

Pugatch, Jason
Allworth 2006

In-depth interviews with actors, agents, casting directors. In this hip, warts-and-all look at acting, author Jason Pugatch shares his insights as a working “day player” to give an unvarnished look at theater, film, and television: how to be “discovered,” what to expect from training programs, the grunt work of starting a career, how to keep going despite constant rejection, and much more. Packed with myth-shattering anecdotes and told in an intriguing personal tone, Acting Is a Job is the backstage guide that every aspiring actor must read.

How to Book Acting Jobs in TV and Film : The Truth About the Acting Industry – Conversations with a Veteran Hollywood Casting Director

Reinking, Cathy

Topics not found in other books of it’s kind include: The Different Styles of Auditioning For Each Type of TV Show, Film, Commercial, Webseries, What is Sex Appeal, and How To Project It? Ten Secrets of Charisma: What We Are Drawn To and How To Enhance Your Own, The Transition from Theatre to On-Camera Work, The Demystification of the Audition Process, Current Trends in Casting That Have Changed the Way We Cast. Revealing interviews with Broadway & Hollywood Actors. A Special Section for Parents of Gifted Young Actors. How to get jobs in TV and Film and Keep Them.

Auditioning and Acting for the Camera

Shepard, John W.
Smith & Kraus 2004

Finally a book for actors and acting teachers that recognizes there are different cameras to perform before and different techniques to be mastered for each camera. Auditioning and acting for the camera will teach you the special techniques required for success in facing the unique challenges each type of camera presents.


Shurtleff, Michael
Bloomsbury 2009

The casting director for Chicago, Pippin, Becket, Gypsy, The Graduate, the Sound of Music and Jesus Christ Superstar tells you how you can find your dream role! Absolutely everything an actor needs to know to get the part is here: What to do that moment before, how to use humour; create mystery; how to develop a distinct style; and how to evaluate the place, the relationships and the competition. In fact, Audition is a necessary guide to dealing with all the “auditions” we face in life.

An Actor’s Work

Stanislavsky, Konstantin
Routledge 2008

Stanislavski’s ‘system’ has dominated actor-training in the West since his writings were first translated into English in the 1920s and 30s. His systematic attempt to outline a psycho-physical technique for acting single-handedly revolutionized standards of acting in the theatre.

Book Collections on Acting and Actors

Books on Acting – Collection

Over 2,000 books on acting pdf. Some books: Ten Minutes to the Audition, The Student Actor’s Handbook, 35 Original Comedy Scenes for Two, The Working Actor: a guide to the profession, Actor’s Workshop, Techniques of Acting, Stanislavsky on the Art of the Stage,How to Be a Working Actor. Breaking into Acting for Dummies pdf. Film Scenes for Actors, 57 Original Auditions for Actors, Classical Audition Speeches for Women, The Young Actor’s Book of Improvisation, many more.

Books on Actors and Actresses- Collection

Thousands of free online books on Actors and Actresses. Some books: Merely Players, Vanessa Williams, Today’s Young stars of Stage and Screen, Marlon Brando biography, Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor Richard Burton and the Marriage of the Century, Hilary Duff biography, George Clooney illustrated biography, The Paradox of Acting, Who’s Who in the Theater, Denzel Washington biography online, Rob Lowe autobiography, Tom Hanks, Alan Alda biography, Jennifer Aniston, TV Super Stars 1980 book, Adam Sandler book, Henry Fonda biography, Martin Clunes biography, Angelina Jolie free biography, Humphrey Bogart biography free, Jack Black biography.

Method Acting – Collection

Free books on Method Acting at Internet Archive, sorted by relevance. Some titles: Stanislavski, Stanislavski Method, On Method Acting, Beyond Stanislavsky, The Sanford Meisner Approach. An Actor Prepares pdf free download. Stanislavski and the Actor, Method Actors, Strasberg at the Actors Studio, Working on the Play and the Role.

Improvisation Acting – Collection

About 80 books on improvisation acting at Open Library / Internet Archive, sorted to show the titles of most relevance to the subject at the top. Some titles: Impro, Commedia dell’arte, Improvisation, The Actor’s Scenebook, Let’s Improvise, The Young Actor’s Book of Improvisation, Creative Dramatics for Children, Theatre Games for Rehearsal, Improvisations in Creative Drama.

Acting and Auditioning Books – Collection

About 300 Acting and Auditioning Books PDF at Open Library / Internet Archive, sorted to show the most recently published titles at the top. Some titles: Auditioning for Film and Television: Secrets from a Casting Director, Th Best Women’s Stage Monologues 2014, The Excellent Audition Guidebook, Mastering the Audition: How to Perform Under Pressure, The Ultimate Audition Guide, Exceptional Monologues 2, Mastering Monologues and Acting Sides.

Motion Picture Actors – Collection

Free online books about motion picture actors and actresses at the Internet Archive. Some books: Sex Lives of the Hollywood Idols, Films of Robert Redford, Great Lovers of the Movies, 40 Years of Screen Credits 1929-1969, Burt Lancaster, Great Movie Heroes, Love Goddesses of the Movies, Leonard Maltin’s Movie Encyclopedia, Hollywood’s Great Love Teams, Jackie Chan, A Look at the Women Who Made Hollywood, The Hollywood Beauties, Sean Connery, Johnny Depp, The Image Makers: 60 years of Hollywood, many more. Books for film lovers.

Television Actors – Collection

Books from the Internet Archive free online on Television Actors and Actresses. Some books: Performers’ Television Credits, Jerry Seinfeld, Betty White, The Best in Television: 50 years of Emmys, Drew Carey, Actors’ Television Credits 1950-1972, Guide to Character Actors, Soap Stars: America’s 31 favorite daytime actors, 100 Greatest TV Stars of All Time, James Corden, Kiefer Sutherland, Amy Poehler, many more.

The Performing Arts – Audio Book Collection

This “Coffee Break Collection” has 20 short public domain works by different authors ranging in duration from 3 to 15 minutes. The works are about theatre, music, dance, and film.

Selected Books on Theatre

The Cambridge Guide to Theatre

Banham, Martin, ed.
Cambridge Univ. 1995

“Substantially revised and updated, this is the most comprehensive guide to the history and current practice of worldwide theatre available today. It covers all major playwrights, works, traditions, theories, companies, venues and events; details the origins of popular theatre tradition; discusses the work of actors, directors and designers; and explains theatre architecture and design. The book is written by over 100 expert contributors and is illustrated throughout.”

A Pictorial History of the American Theatre 1860-1980

Blum, Daniel C.
Crown 1981

An authoritative history of the American theatre documents the plays, awards, musicals, dramatic scenes, actors, and actresses, in over six thousand black-and-white photographs.

Theatrical Design and Production: An Introduction to Scene Design and Construction, Lighting, Sound, Costume, and Makeup

Gillette, J. Michael
Mayfield 1992

This is a comprehensive survey of the technical and design aspects of play production, including scene design and construction, lighting, sound, costume, and makeup. Health and safety precautions for the backstage crew appear throughout in boxes labeled ” Safety Tips, ” and ” Design Inspiration” boxes show how professional designers create the desired look. Theaters Stage-setting and scenery, Stage management.

The Oxford Companion to American Theatre

Bordman, Gerald M.
Oxford Univ. 1984

Playwrights, plays, actors, directors, producers, songwriters, famous playhouses, regional groups, dramatic movements – all are here in nearly 3,000 alphabetically arranged entries. This book covers not only the “greats” of our theatre but its more ephemeral figures and productions as well. Here too are entries on foreign figures and productions that have been influential in our dramatic development … The book pays considerable attention to the often neglected achievements of the nineteenth century and gives full coverage to the American musical theatre and the diverse figures associated with it. It is thorough and meticulous.

The Perfect Stage Crew : The Compleat Technical Guide for High School, College, and Community Theater

Kaluta, John
Allworth 2012

Here is an indispensable, nuts-and-bolts guide to putting on a stunning, low-budget show in less than 40 days! The Perfect Stage Crew explains the pitfalls to avoid and provides solutions to the most common as well as most complex stage performance problems. Readers without Broadway-size budgets and resources will learn the low-cost, low-tech approaches to painting scenery, building sets, hanging lights, setting cues, and operating sound. They’ll also find crucial guidance for generating publicity, preparing tickets, technical rehearsals, and more. Kaluta Perfect Stage Crew free download or read online.

Broadway: The American Musical

Kantor, Michael and Maslon, Laurence
Bulfinch 2004

A companion to the six-part PBS documentary series, BROADWAY: THE AMERICAN MUSICAL is the first comprehensive history of the musical, from its roots at the turn of the 20th century through the smashing successes of the new millennium. The compelling, in-depth text is lavishly illustrated with a treasure trove of photographs, sheet-music covers, posters, scenic renderings, production stills, rehearsal shots, and caricatures, many previously unpublished. Complementing the narrative are lively sidebars that highlight the stars, the shows, and the songs–the key ingredients that make the musical great.

The Grey House Performing Arts Directory

Gottlieb, Richard, ed.
Millerton, NY: Grey House 2007

This Directory, with 9,601 listings, provides access to this community of performers. In addition to performing organizations – Dance, Instrumental Music, Vocal Music & Series & Festivals, the Directory contains comprehensive chapters on the business of performing arts: Facilities and Industry resources including associations, periodicals, directories & databases, trade shows & conferences, and web sites.

Theatrical Worlds

Mitchell, Charles
University Press of Florida

An introductory text for theatre and theoretical production. This book seeks to give insight into the people and processes that create theater.

Cambridge Guide to American Theatre

Wilmeth, Don B.
Cambridge Univ. 1996

Covers American theatre from its earliest history to the present, with special attention given to contemporary theatre throughout the United States. In addition to some 2,300 compact entries on people, venues, plays, and other theatrical phenomena, almost 100 topical entries are provided, covering theatre in several major U.S. cities and such disparate subjects as Asian-American theatre, theatre architecture, female and male impersonation, magic, costume, Shakespeare on the American stage, unions, Hispanic theatre, stage lighting, and dramatic theory.

Singing in Musical Theatre : The Training of Singers and Actors

Melton, Joan
Allworth 2007

What does it take to be a musical theatre performer? This insider’s look into the unique demands of musical theatre performance establishes connecting links between voice training for the singer and drama school training for the actor. By reading these revealing interviews, performers in every area of theatre can: — Discover what it takes to go from a first lesson to a solid professional technique – Consider the requirements for singers in musical theatre today, how they have changed, and where they are going — See how different teachers approach six aspects of voice training: alignment, breathing, range resonance, articulation, and connection – Understand the interconnectedness of musical theatre and theatre voice.

Broadway Musicals, Show by Show

Green, Stanley
Hal Leonard 1996

The most comprehensive and widely used Broadway reference book has been expanded and updated to include more than 300 of the most important and memorable productions of the American musical theatre. Chronologically arranged beginning with The Black Crook in 1866, this edition includes show entries up through the latest hits (Rent, Sunset Boulevard, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Victor/Victoria, Passion) and all the latest big revivals (Show Boat, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, The King and I). Features a wealth of statistics, inside information, critical reception, cast lists, and pithy commentary about each show.

History of the Theatre

Brockett, Oscar G.
Allyn and Bacon 1991

Revised and updated edition of a standard textbook describes and traces the major developments in the theatre from its beginnings until early 1990. The primary emphasis is on the European tradition, with a secondary emphasis on the Oriental tradition. Thoroughly illustrated.

Starting Your Career as a Theatrical Designer

Riha, Michael J.
Allworth 2012

Ten award-winning and current Broadway designers—five set designers, four lighting designers, and one projection designer—discuss the business aspects of the theatre world, sharing relevant insider information and strategies that will prove invaluable to aspiring and seasoned theatrical designers alike. The conversations are accompanied by designer sketches, finished drawings, technical plates of drafting, photos of scale models, storyboards illustrating multi-scene productions and unique lighting looks, and photos from Broadway and regional theatre productions.

Source Stories of Twelve Operas – Audiobook

Britten, Benjamin

Britten’s operas are firmly established in the international repertoire: according to Operabase, they are performed worldwide more than those of any other composer born in the 20th century, and only Puccini and Richard Strauss come ahead of him if the list is extended to all operas composed after 1900. Britten went to various sources for his stories from the Bible to Japanese noh plays. This is a collection of twelve of the source stories.

Selected Books on Dance

Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina

Copeland, Misty and Jones, Charisse
Touchstone 2014

A bestselling and prize-winning memoir by African-American ballerina Misty Copeland, Life in Motion is the vividly told story of her journey to the world-class American Ballet Theatre—and delves into the harrowing family conflicts that nearly drove her away from ballet as a thirteen-year-old prodigy. With an insider’s passion, Misty opens a window into the life of an artist who lives life center stage, from behind the scenes at her first classes to her triumphant roles in some of the world’s most iconic ballets.

The Oxford Dictionary of Dance

Craine, Debra and Mackrell, Judith
OUP Oxford 2010

Over 2,600 entries. A unique single volume reference on all aspects of dance performance. The work covers all aspects of the diverse dance world from classical ballet to modern, from flamenco to hip-hop, from tap to South Asian dance forms and includes detailed entries on technical terms, steps, styles, works and countries, in addition to many biographies of dancers, choreographers, and companies. Craine and Mackrell Oxford Dictionary of Dance free download or read online.

Starting Your Career as a Dancer

Dagenais, Mande
Allworth 2012

Mande Dagenais explains what it really takes to get into the business, be in the business, and survive in the business. Aspiring dancers will learn about different markets, venues, and types of work for dancers, and what to expect from a dancing job, while experienced dancers will appreciate helpful tips on where and how to find work, business management, and career transition. Covering topics ranging from audition dos and don’ts to injury prevention, this is absolutely the most comprehensive and practical guide you will find to the dancer’s profession.

Dance Imagery for Technique and Performance

Franklin, Eric N.
Human Kinetics 2014

Master teacher Eric Franklin provides dancers and dance educators with a deep understanding of how they can use imagery to improve their dancing and artistic expression in class and in performance. Franklin provides hundreds of imagery exercises to refine improvisation, technique, and choreography. The 295 illustrations cover the major topics in the book, showing exercises to use in technique, artistic expression, and performance. In addition, Franklin supplies imagery exercises that can restore and regenerate the body through massage, touch, and stretching. And he offers guidance in using imagery to convey information about a dancer’s steps and to clarify the intent and content of movement.

African American Dance: An Illustrated History

Glass, Barbara S.
McFarland 2012

Africans brought as slaves to North America arrived without possessions, but not without culture. The fascinating elements of African life manifested themselves richly in the New World, and among the most lasting and influential of these was the art of African dance. This generously illustrated history follows the dynamics of African dance forms throughout each generation. The book concludes with a discussion of African dance at the end of the twentieth century and its important role in the flowering of African American arts.

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Apollo’s Angels

Homans, Jennifer
Prentice Hall 2002

Apollo’s Angels—the first cultural history of ballet ever written—is a groundbreaking work. From ballet’s origins in the Renaissance and the codification of its basic steps and positions under France’s Louis XIV (himself an avid dancer), the art form wound its way through the courts of Europe, from Paris and Milan to Vienna and St. Petersburg. In the twentieth century, émigré dancers taught their art to a generation in the United States and in Western Europe, setting off a new and radical transformation of dance.

See our Britannica Encyclopedia pdf

Dancing on My Grave: An Autobiography

Kirkland, Gelsey and Lawrence, Greg
Berkley 1992

The shattering story of a dream which became a heartbreaking nightmare for one of America’s most famous ballerinas, Gelsey Kirkland, who chronicles her brilliant start as a dancer with George Balanchine, her legendary partnership with Mikhail Baryshnikov, her agonizing descent into drugs, and her struggles to rise again.

Bolshoi Confidential: Secrets of the Russian Ballet from the Rule of the Tsars to Today

Morrison, Simon
Liveright 2016

Simon Morrison’s “sweeping and authoritative” (Guardian) work, Bolshoi Confidential, details the Bolshoi Ballet’s magnificent history from its earliest tumults to recent scandals. Morrison describes the ballet as a crucible of art and politics beginning with the disreputable inception of the theater in 1776, through the era of imperial rule, the chaos of revolution, the oppressive Soviet years, and the Bolshoi’s recent $680 million renovation. With vibrant detail including “sex scandals, double-suicide pacts, bribery, arson, executions, prostitution rings, embezzlement, starving orphans, [and] dead cats in lieu of flowers” (New Republic), Morrison makes clear that the history of the Bolshoi Ballet mirrors that of Russia itself.

America Dancing: From the Cakewalk to the Moonwalk

Pugh, Megan
Yale University 2015

The history of American dance reflects the nation’s tangled culture. Dancers from wildly different backgrounds watched, imitated, and stole from one another. Audiences everywhere embraced the result as deeply American. America Dancing demonstrates the centrality of dance in American art, life, and identity, taking us to watershed moments when the nation worked out a sense of itself through public movement.

What the Eye Hears: A History of Tap Dancing

Seibert, Brian
Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2015

An authoritative account of the great American art of tap dancing. We discover how the history of tap dancing is central to any meaningful account of American popular culture. Seibert traces the stylistic development of tap through individual practitioners, vividly depicting dancers both well remembered and now obscure. And he illuminates the cultural exchange between blacks and whites over centuries, the interplay of imitation and theft, as well as the moving story of African-Americans in show business, wielding enormous influence as they grapple with the pain and pride of a complicated legacy. What the Eye Hears teaches us to see and hear the entire history of tap in its every step.

Classical Ballet Technique

Warren, Gretchen Ward
University of South Florida 1989

“An invaluable guide for students, teachers, and ballet lovers. It not only covers the broad spectrum of ballet vocabulary but also gives sound, practical advice to aspiring dancers. The clarity of the writing, in a field notorious for its opaqueness, is in itself a major achievement.”–Merrill Ashley, Principal Dancer, New York City Ballet.

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