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Apollo's Angels

A History of Ballet

Apollo's Angels by Jennifer Homans
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"It has never been done before, 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….Homans accomplishment is akin to setting the most delicate and beautiful of all the imperial Faberge eggs into a fissure high on Mount Rushmore and tracking its unlikely survival…Inspired…The story of Balanchine has been told before, and at greater lengths, but never better…An eloquent and lasting elegy to an unlasting art."

"A tour de force…the publication of Apollo’s Angels is itself a moment in the magnificent history of classical dance."

"Magisterial… Apollo’s Angels is a cultural history of the highest order…Homans brings to the page a practical knowledge gained in an earlier career as a dancer. Thus she leaps easily from big picture political trends in one sentence to the minutiae of a dancer’s steps in the next, from how dances were made to who the patrons were…Fascinating reading."

"Here is a book of immense ambition—a one volume history of ballet—and of considerable accomplishment….Homans shows herself to be both dogged and graceful as a historian—a rare and welcome combination of qualities…I follow her gratefully through the centuries as she traces the progress of ballet from its beginnings…Her deft intelligence and lively voice keep the book from sounding too academic, and its vast stock of information is cogently organized."

"It’s hard to believe that a book like Jennifer Homans’s Apollo’s Angels, on a topic of such obvious interest and importance, has never been written before, but it apparently hasn't, and lovers of the ballet are lucky that it is Homans—herself a former dancer and the dance critic for The New Republic--who took up the task."
— Harper's Magazine

"A magisterial and often moving history of the silent art…The author artfully choreographs a huge, sometimes unruly cast, producing a work of elegance, emotion and enduring importance."
—KIRKUS REVIEWS, starred review «

"Homans brings her intimate experience as a dancer and her discerning dance critic’s eye to her fascinating and exquisitely detailed history of ballet, an art that combines rigor and idealism….[a] glorious landmark study of ballet’s ideals and enchantment."
BOOKLIST, starred review «

"An important and original work of cultural history…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."
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, starred review «

"Apollo's Angels" is an important addition to the literature on ballet: intellectually rigorous, beautifully written, brilliantly structured… an illuminating history much needed now."

"Each page of this luminous work delights, enlightens and beckons.   Every dancer should live with this book, of course, but every person who loves literature and history, is word-struck and story-addicted, should give themselves a treat with Apollo’s Angels. Treasure this treasure.”—Jacques d’amboise

“This is a wonderful book about how ballet evolved.  Written by a gifted dancer,  Apollo's Angels is dance history seen from the inside.  The wonder to me is how much this accessible, beautifully-crafted book reveals about the times and places in which ballets were made; it makes culture come alive.” —Richard Sennett, author of The Craftsman
"A dancer who is also a historian -- who ever dreamed of such an improbable creature? But here is Jennifer Homans and her indispensable book. She puts the understanding of ballet on a whole new footing. Finally the delicacies of ballet have been restored to the indelicacies of history, and the art seems even more wondrous for it. Apollo's Angels is an enlightenment, a remarkable feat of scholarship and sensibility, an affecting mixture of criticism and devotion, an intellectual joy."—Leon Wieseltier

From the Hardcover edition.
Random House Publishing Group; November 2010
ISBN 9780679603900
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Title: Apollo's Angels
Author: Jennifer Homans
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