The Ballets of Antony Tudor: Studies in Psyche and Satire

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Oxford University Press, 1994 - Choreographers - 311 pages
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One of the leading choreographers in ballet over the last half century, Antony Tudor is considered the most lyrical and emotionally powerful of modern ballet masters, acclaimed for his imaginative use of music and his commitment to dramatic pplot. Comparable in achievement to George Balanchine and Frederick Ashton, Tudor created over sixty ballets, including his masterpieces Jardin aux Lilas, Dark Elegies, Romeo and Juliet and the incomparable Pillar of Fire. He was instrumental in the establishment of the American Ballet Theater and its rise to prominence as one of the world's great ballet companies.
Now Judith Chazin-Bennahum, an accomplished author and a former ballerina and student of Tudor's steps forward to deliver the first comprehensie, ballet by ballet examination of Tudor's choreography. Meticulously researched, lively and insightful, The Ballets of Antony Tudor: Studies in Psyche and Satire opens the way for dance aficionados to better appreciate and preserve the artistic legacy of one of this century's major innovators. Long ago performances come thrillingly to life, from Tudor's fledgling efforts with Marie Rambert's Ballet Club in London, to his tenure as a founding member and principal choreographer of ABT to his subsequent career as a contributor to the New York City Ballet, the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, and as a celebrated teacher at Juilliard. Chazin-Bennahum draws extensively from her interviews with TUudor before his death in 1987, and her own experience in his famous classes and rehearsals. Her superbly documented research uncovers program notes, reviews, rare photographs and stills of original productions, and interviews with scores of men and women who played a part in Tudor's achievement. Choreographers and dancers from Agnes de Mille and Nora Kaye to Jerome Robbins and Gelsey Kirkland discuss their debt to Tudor, and his role in the evolution of dance.
While not a biography in the traditional sense, the book does shed fascinating light on the private life of Antony Tudor. He was born William Cook, the son of a butcher in London's East End, in 1908, and Chazin-Bennahum's analysis reveals how deeply his life informed his art. "I never do a ballet that does not concern the bourgeoisie," Tudor once said. Of course, Tudor's experience was shaped by more than class. Like Picasso, writes the author, Tudor was a child of our century, reacting to its wars, its destruction and its persecution of women and children in the language he knew best. Original and engaging, The Ballets of Antony Tudor brilliantly explicates the hidden desire, brutality, violence towards women, isolation, and unrequired love that are common themes in Tudor's ballets, illuminating the rich psychological nuance and intimacy of gesture with which he transformed his art.

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The ballets of Antony Tudor: studies in psyche and satire

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Tudor (1908-87) will be recalled as a leading 20th-century choreographer who followed a singular path in his narrative dances. Donna Perlmutter's Shadowplay ( LJ 6/15/91) was the first published ... Read full review


Childhood in London and the Discovery of a Passion
Revelation of a Major Talent
Tudor on His Own

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About the author (1994)

About the author:
Judith Chazin-Bennahum is the author of Dance in the Shadow of the Guillotine, and is Professor of Theatre and Dance at the University of New Mexico. She has danced with Robert Joffrey, was principal soloist with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet Company, and has choreographed for the New Mexico Symphony.

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