In Apollo’s Angels, dance critic and historian Jennifer Homans traces the history of ballet from its birth in the sixteenth-century French courts to its impending death at the hands of contemporary choreography. Along the way, Homans explores the transmission of ballet from person to person, the strong bonds that tie the dance to each distinct culture that produces it, and the intense relationships between teachers and students. Tracing the evolution of technique, choreography, and performance, Homans demonstrates that ballet was shaped by moments of political and societal upheavals over the course of its four-hundred-year history. Apollo’s Angels, states The New York Times, is the definitive history of the most impossibly fantastic art form—ballet.
Jennifer Homans was a professional dancer trained at the North Carolina School of the Arts, American Ballet Theatre, and The School of American Ballet. She is the dance critic for The New Republic and has a Ph.D. in modern European history from New York University, where she is a Distinguished Scholar in Residence.
Recorded Saturday, February 5, 2011 at the Newberry Library.