Arlene Croceis the former dance critic for The New Yorker and the author of The Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers Book.

 (February 2016)

IN THE REVIEW

Tap: Pure and Beautiful

Jimmy Tate, Savion Glover, Baakari Wilder, and Vincent Bingham in Bring in ’da Noise, Bring in ’da Funk, 1996

What the Eye Hears: A History of Tap Dancing

by Brian Seibert

America Dancing: From the Cakewalk to the Moonwalk

by Megan Pugh
Probably the first dance anyone ever did was a tap dance. Beating the feet on the ground was elementary communication; doing it in time was a pleasure. The tribal dances of sub-Saharan Africa amazed Europeans with their rhythmic exactness as long ago as the eleventh century. The dancing was monitored …

They’re the Top

Fred and Adele Astaire in Stop Flirting, Shaftesbury Theatre, London, May 1923

Music Makes Me: Fred Astaire and Jazz

by Todd Decker

The Astaires: Fred and Adele

by Kathleen Riley
Now that The Artist has whetted our interest in the silent film and the revolutionary impact of sound, it may be time to reconsider the career of the man who made the conversion to sound the basis of a whole new kind of movie, Fred Astaire. Astaire and the difference he made to the film musical add up to more than the story of one career. No other film genre provided as perfect a synchronization of sight and sound or an experience as exhilarating, and that was very largely Astaire’s doing.

The Great Adventure of Sergei Diaghilev

Serge Lifar as Apollo and Alexandra Danilova as Terpsichore in Igor Stravinsky and George Balanchine’s Apollon musagète, 1928; photograph by Sasha. Arlene Croce writes that this ballet, 
first performed by Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, was ‘the supreme example’ 
of neoclassicism, ‘which broke decisively with the past by reimagining it.’

Diaghilev: A Life

by Sjeng Scheijen, translated from the Dutch by Jane Hedley-Prôle and S.J. Leinbach

Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes, 1909–1929

an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, September 25, 2010–January 9, 2011
If the religion of art can be said to have had saints, Sergei Diaghilev was one. His whole enterprise had about it the odor of sanctity. When he could not pay his creditors or his dancers or his own hotel bills, he ate in truckers’ cafés and closed his astrakhan coat with a safety pin. A diabetic, he was also plagued with boils. His dancers who could not afford to buy clothes wore their costumes. From the beginning, he considered himself and all who joined him bound by the ethic of hard work. “You can’t imagine what it’s like, the Ballets Russes,” Matisse wrote to his wife. “There’s absolutely no fooling around here—it’s an organisation where no one thinks of anything but his or her work—I’d never have guessed this is how it would be.”

On ‘Beauty’ Bare

The Sleeping Beauty performed by the Kirov Ballet at the Metropolitan Opera, New York, June 28-30, 1999

a ballet choreographed by Marius Petipa, with music by Tchaikovsky,
Revivals of historic prerevolutionary productions have become a specialty of the Kirov Theater, the Maryinsky of St. Petersburg. Last year, a Silver Age Ruslan and Lyudmila, with designs by Konstantine Korovin and Alexander Golovin and ballets by Michel Fokine, was the hit of the Kirov Opera season in New York.