The publication of a History of Western Dance, constituted by three slim volumes and for the students of ‘Liceo musicale’ and ‘coreutico’, led to consider the meaning of writing a history of a performing art, as the dance can be considered. Despite the art of body in movement belongs to all the oldest western cultures and is largely documented in the Ancient Greek, it developed self awareness only in the 18th century when it started being considered in an aesthetic and historical perspective. Three important scholars devoted themselves to this publication; Ornella Di Tondo for the section from the Antiquity to 17th century, Flavia Pappacena for the 18th and 19th centuries, and Alessandro Pontremoli, in collaboration with Emanuele Giannasca, for the 20th century and beyond. Every volume presents the subjects differently, despite a common structure characterized by flexible and easy approaches with some detailed materials related to particular events, subject-matters, and turning points. Periodization criteria and focus on events change according to the different documentary sources used by the scholars for the different ages. The three books deal with major culture centres of Western dance. However, attention focuses on the Italian case, regarding not only the Renaissance and Baroque periods, but also following developments that have been studied to a lesser extent. The volumes provide a contextual overview which is rich and detailed as it underlines that peculiar network of European theatres, topics, techniques, dancers and choreographers, which will be echoed in America at the end of the 19th century. The historiographical and narrative pattern changes partially in the three volumes, showing in this way three possible examples and solutions for the central matter about the way of studying the past of a basically kinetic and visual art, its contexts and influences through the times. These books are useful not only for the students of Liceo musicale and coreutico but also for university students, and scholars, who will find in that, original interest too.


Silvia Carandini è Professore di Storia del teatro e dello spettacolo presso il Dipartimento di Storia dell’arte e Spettacolo dell’Università ‘La Sapienza’ di Roma. Fra i suoi scritti: L’effimero barocco. Strutture della festa nella Roma del Seicento, 2 voll., con M. Fagiolo dell’Arco (Roma, Bulzoni, 1977-1978); Il sipario magico di Emanuele Luzzati, con Mara Fazio (Roma, Officina, 1980); La melagrana spaccata. L’arte del teatro in Francia dal naturalismo alle avanguardie storiche (Roma, Valerio Levi, 1988); Teatro e spettacolo nel Seicento (Bari, Laterza, 1990); Don Giovanni o l'estrema avventura del teatro. ‘Il nuovo risarcito Convitato di pietra’ di Giovan Battista Andreini. Studi e edizione critica, con L. Mariti (Roma, Bulzoni, 2003).


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