For more than four hundred years, the art of ballet has stood at the center of Western civilization. Its traditions serve as a record of our past. Lavishly illustrated and beautifully told, 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. Jennifer Homans, a historian, critic, and former professional ballerina, wields a knowledge of dance born of dedicated practice. Her admiration and love for the ballet, asEntertainment Weekly notes, brings “a dancer’s grace and sure-footed agility to the page.”
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The author artfully choreographs a huge, sometimes unruly cast, producing a work of elegance, emotion and enduring importance.Read Full Review of Apollo's Angels: A History of... | See more reviews from Kirkus
Her cultural critique, as well as her expansive and penetrating view of ballet's history, recommend this book to all readers who care about the history of the arts as well as their present and possible future.Read Full Review of Apollo's Angels: A History of... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly
There are, it should be noted, errors and omissions...More problematic, however, is a tendency toward hyperbole...In a book that inclines to this kind of exaggeration, an epilogue arguing that ballet is dead arrives simply as one more overstatement.Read Full Review of Apollo's Angels: A History of... | See more reviews from NY Times
It has never been done, what Jennifer Homans has done in “Apollo’s Angels.” She has written the only truly definitive history of the most impossibly fantastic art form, ballet...Read Full Review of Apollo's Angels: A History of... | See more reviews from NY Times
...Jennifer Homans, a former professional ballet dancer turned historian and critic, whose enormous new history of classical ballet, “Apollo’s Angels,” was published this month.Read Full Review of Apollo's Angels: A History of... | See more reviews from NY Times
Insights like this give Homans's history profound resonance and it's only rarely that her contextualising looks forced.Read Full Review of Apollo's Angels: A History of... | See more reviews from Guardian
She writes with clarity as well as complexity, weaving historical fact with analysis and context...Her major contribution, though, is animating ballet's beginnings for a 21st-century audience.Read Full Review of Apollo's Angels: A History of...
The polemics aside, "Apollo's Angels" is an illuminating history much needed now. I hope that today's ballet viewers will read it.Read Full Review of Apollo's Angels: A History of...
...she has a way of mistaking her own subjective pronouncements for Olympian truth...Chief among her omissions is the American choreographer William Forsythe, who is widely acknowledged to have changed the face of contemporary ballet at the end of the 20th century.Read Full Review of Apollo's Angels: A History of...
In Homans’ controversial and much-discussed epilogue, she determined that “ballet is dying.” Given how persuasively the author shows that ballet has been no one fixed thing for centuries, it’s a death too soon foretold.Read Full Review of Apollo's Angels: A History of... | See more reviews from LA Times
If today’s cultural elite can stir themselves from their plans for “the next gala,” long enough to consider Balanchine’s advice and Homans’ warning, then the “living line” of this most glorious of art forms may yet be preserved.Read Full Review of Apollo's Angels: A History of...
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