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If my sister’s arches fall

Laura Jacobs: Agnes deMille, 5 October 2016

Dance to the Piper 
by Agnes deMille.
NYRB, 368 pp., £11.99, February 2016, 978 1 59017 908 6
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... New York City Ballet, ‘to impose a native meaning on a recalcitrant alien dance tradition’. Agnes deMille too broke through in the 1940s, with a ballet called Rodeo in 1942, its score commissioned from Copland. The following year her choreography for Oklahoma! revolutionised Broadway. The composer Richard ...

I gained the ledge

Laura Jacobs: ‘Appalachian Spring’, 24 January 2019

Aaron Copland’s ‘Appalachian Spring’ 
by Annegret Fauser.
Oxford, 144 pp., £10.99, November 2017, 978 0 19 064687 5
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... written two ballet scores: Billy the Kid for Ballet Caravan in 1938 and Rodeo for the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1942. But this new score, commissioned by the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Foundation in July 1942, was not for a ballet company but for Graham, America’s high priestess of modern dance. The ‘inner life’ that emerged was complex. The ...

Lucky City

Mary Beard: Cicero, 23 August 2001

Cicero: A Turbulent Life 
by Anthony Everitt.
Murray, 346 pp., £22.50, April 2001, 0 7195 5491 8
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... of augury, oracles and fortune-telling); while ‘Tully’s Offices’, his treatise on duty (De officiis), was the ethical handbook of many 17th-century English gentlemen. But this admiration did not survive the rise of intellectual philhellenism; and for much of the 19th and 20th centuries Cicero’s philosophy, all six modern volumes of it, was ...

God in the Body

Anne Hollander, 25 January 1996

Cahiers: Le Sentiment 
by Nijinsky, translated into French by Christian Dumais-Lvorski and Galina Pogojeva.
Actes Sud, 300 pp., frs 140, January 1995, 2 7427 0314 4
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... the need for his alimentary system to be emptied before he dances (‘quand tout sera sorti de mon intestin’), and a last satisfactory visit to the costume-maker, whose work he praises and whose poor family he helps. But from then on he’s running and running in the snow, sometimes keeping pace with a sympathetic horse, or he’s precisely planning a ...

To the Great God Pan

Laura Jacobs: Goddess Isadora, 23 October 2013

My Life: The Restored Edition 
by Isadora Duncan.
Norton, 322 pp., £12.99, June 2013, 978 0 87140 318 6
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... My Life was ‘the first statement in our literature of woman as an artist’. The choreographer Agnes deMille remembers that the public’s response to the memoir showed ‘how we longed for what was passionate, even if outrageous’. The book also, she wrote, ‘proved dreadfully unnerving to the young. Several ...

Insouciance

Anne Hollander: Wild Lee Miller, 20 July 2006

Lee Miller 
by Carolyn Burke.
Bloomsbury, 426 pp., £12.99, March 2006, 0 7475 8793 0
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... and Paris was the hub of modernity as well as the right place to lead a traditional vie de bohème. Elizabeth’s lasted seven months before her return to a short stint at Poughkeepsie’s Vassar College, where she mainly did student theatre and entertained beaux from Yale, before decamping for New York to find real opportunities – more fun, more ...

WOW

Anne Hollander, 10 March 1994

Life into Art: Isadora Duncan and Her World 
edited by Dorée Duncan, Carol Pratl and Cynthia Splatt.
Norton, 198 pp., £25, November 1993, 0 393 03507 7
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... creatures from another world, or that of cabaret dancers with their thrillingly shameful displays. Agnes deMille’s introduction is another good thing about this book. She, too, cannot praise Isadora enough, but she does it with the advantage of having actually seen her dance. It was 1918, late in Duncan’s ...

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