Why Dance Matters

Mindy Aloff


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Yale University Press
17 January 2023
ISBN: 9780300204520
280 pages

From the publisher

A passionate and moving tribute to the captivating power of dance, not just as an art form but as a language that transcends barriers

"A veritable master class."-Anne Doventry, Booklist

Mindy Aloff, a journalist, an essayist, and a dance critic, analyzes dance as the ultimate expression of human energy and feeling. From her personal anecdotes, her engaging collection of stories about dance from around the world, or her description of the captivating photograph by Helen Levitt of two children dancing, which she sees as one embodiment of the mystery and joy that dancing can evoke, Aloff's exploration of the aesthetic, social, and spiritual impacts of dance will prove spellbinding.

Aloff takes us on a journey through various forms of dance-rituals, religious observances, storytelling, musical interpretations-to show why dance matters to human beings. Interlaced with personal experiences, this book builds on analysis to reveal the intimate relationship we have with dance-personal, spiritual, soul-searching, medicinal, and entertaining. The ideas speak to both specialist and general readers.