Wendy Perron ventures west of the Mississippi

Perron - Through R-72-3In December, Wendy Perron, an editor for Dance magazine and author of Wesleyan’s Through the Eyes of a Dancer, shared her book with captivated audiences in two cities west of the Mississippi. The first event took place in Salt Lake City on December 2nd. Michael Bearden, director of Ballet Arkansas said of the reading “I had the opportunity to hear Wendy Perron read excerpts from her new book last night. She was articulate, insightful and moved the audience to tears. To all my friends in Houston, go hear her speak on Thursday and check out her new book.” Read more about it in 15 Bytes: Utah’s Art Magazine.

On the 5th, Perron was invited to read for an audience at the Houston Ballet. Andrew Edmonson, press manager of Houston Ballet, Tweeted about the event: “just back from a reading by the divine Wendy Perron of her stellar new book, Through the Eyes of a Dancer, a fascinating, opinionated walk through five decades of change and innovation in the dance world. Eye opening and thought provoking.”

Don’t miss Perron’s events in New York City next month. The first will be held on February 24th at the Barnes and Noble on the Upper West Side, where she will be moderating a reading by Jennifer Ringer of the New York City Ballet. The second will be on February 28th at Steps on Broadway.

Traditional and experimental music meet in northeast Brazil

We are pleased to announce a new book by Daniel B. Sharp, Between Nostalgia and Apocalypse: Popular Music and the Staging of Brazil.


Between Nostalgia and Apocalypse is a close-to-the-ground account of musicians and dancers from Arcoverde, Pernambuco—a small city in the northeastern Brazilian backlands. The book is a study of samba de coco families, considered bearers of traditional music and dance, and the band Cordel do Fogo Encantado, modern performers whose sound incorporates traditional music. Sharp’s study becomes a revealing portrait of performers engaged in new forms of cultural preservation during a post-dictatorship period of democratization and neoliberal reform. Sharp explores how festivals, museums, television, and tourism steep musicians’ performances in national-cultural nostalgia, which both provides musicians and dancers with opportunities for cultural entrepreneurship and hinders their efforts to be recognized as part of the Brazilian here-and-now. The book charts how Afro-Brazilian samba de coco, born in the slave quarters of Brazil, became an unlikely symbol in an interior where European and indigenous cultures predominate. Sharp also discusses the modernization of folkloric elements, chronicling how the popular band Cordel do Fogo Encantado draws upon the sounds of samba de coco, ecstatic Afro-Brazilian religious music, and heavy metal—making folklore dangerous by embodying an apocalyptic register often associated with northeastern Brazil.

For more details, click here.

To listen to the sounds of Cordel do Fogo Encantado, click here.

Also available as an ebook—check with your favorite ebook retailer.

Come home Charley Patton” reviewed in DCA Newsletter

Visit the UPNE Book PageRalph Lemon’s Come home Charley Patton was reviewed by Judith Ingber, for the Dance Critics Association newsletter. Ingber recommends “this most rewarding and unorthodox book.”

We thank Dance Critics Association [] for allowing us to post this review.

From the review essay:

“If you like dance diaries in print you’ll especially love Ralph Lemon’s latest book Come home Charley Patton (2013). Years ago I was thrilled to delve into Martha Graham’s diary The Notebooks of Martha Graham when it was published (NY: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1973) and likewise, later, with Merce Cunningham’s Changes: Notes on Choreography (NY: Something Else Press, 1968). I assume a dancer’s diary will be snatches of this and that, providing illuminations both visual and articulate about the choreographer’s process and works. That’s true only in part for Ralph’s new book. Note I’ll call him Ralph in the following comments–how could I call him Lemon when he grew up in Minneapolis like I did (though admittedly some years later)? I remember him dancing in the Nancy Hauser Dance Company and then seeing his works for the New Dance Ensemble including “Boundary Water” (1984), “Waiting for Carnival” (1986) and a wonderful solo for dancer Luc Ball?

Ralph’s book is much more than diary entries about his dances—here we get historical context for his stories, images he has photographed and his own sketches (some in black and white and others in color). It’s published by Wesleyan University Press, the famous dance press, and someone there loves him because they’ve also published his previous books (Persephone, his 1996 dance ode to spring which is a small book collaboration with photographer Philip Trager; Geography: art/race/exile, published in 2000; and Tree in 2004). Until one reads this latest book, his role as choreographer/dancer seemed most important. But here one sees his many facets—story teller, researcher, painter, and photographer.

For me, Martin Luther King Day each year calls up a spring day in 1968, walking up New York City’s Broadway near Columbia University, with radio news blaring onto the street from countless shops and cars that King had been shot. This year the inauguration of Barak Hussein Obama as America’s 57th president fell on Martin Luther King Day. I spent the day reading Ralph’s book with time out for watching the televised inauguration ceremonies. In a way, it struck me that his book is an ode to Martin Luther King, for Ralph interweaves the Civil Rights Movement with his own and his family stories.”

Read the full review (.pdf)

Wesleyan UP Influence Map

Please enjoy our interactive Influence Map, highlighting our press’s international scope. Click here to learn more about the map.

Remembering Janet Collins

Click here to view Time Out New York‘s slide show of the 92nd Street Y’s celebration of Janet Collins. To learn more about this phenomenal woman, check out her biography, Night’s Dancer: The Life of Janet Collins here.

Martha Hill and the Making of American Dance reviewed in Ballet-Dance Magazine

Martha Hill and the Making of American Dance reviewed in Ballet-Dance magazine.

Soares’s Martha Hill & the Making of American Dance is researched and written in dedicated service to dance history. Martha Hill mentored Janet Soares and clearly passed on a love of spreading the good word about the dance field. Through this lucid and insightful work, Soares passes on this love to all.”