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New Ann Daly Collected Writings on Dance


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#1 Rachel Howard

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Posted 18 October 2002 - 06:27 PM

I've just received a new collection by Ann Daly titled "Critical Gestures: Writings on Dance and Culture," published by Wesleyan. She's on faculty at the University of Texas at Austin, but I've never read her before. It sounds from some of her writings as if she was once active in the New York dance scene. I'd be interested to learn more about her.

#2 Alexandra

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Posted 18 October 2002 - 07:34 PM

Ann Daly was the president of the Dance Critics Association several years ago when I was on the board, and I got to know her a bit then -- though only through phone conversations. I've never met her. I liked her very much -- she was a tireless worker (being president of DCA means you have to lick a lot of envelopes ; it's not a glamour job). She was in the NYU graduate program and, if I'm remembering correctly, had a rigorously feminist view of dance I found it easy to talk to her about dance, even though we oftened differed (I don't agree that Balanchine's ballets are suspect because the man "manipulates" the woman, for example).

She wrote several pieces for DanceView -- they may be in this collection, actually, as I had to sign a permission form last summer. One that I was particularly proud to print was about John Singer Sargent's paintings with dancing as a subject.

I just got the book as well, but haven't had a chance to read it yet. I'm looking forward to it. Daly is a thoughtful writer.

Thanks very much for posting this, Rachel. I'll be eager to see what you think of it -- I'll be eager to see what I think of it, too :cool: I've been out of touch with her for a long time, and I don't what her views are now.

#3 Ray

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Posted 11 December 2002 - 06:07 AM

I too just picked up Daly's collection. I think what's thoughtful and valuable about her writing is that she wrestles with questions of gender--for instance, she doesn't dismiss Balanchine because she thinks some of his choreographic images are misogynistic, but provides a thoughtful way to reconcile the beauty and value of a dancer's work with her deeply held feminist convictions about what that labor represents. I see her work as akin to film scholars who have redeemed the work of black tap dancers in the deeply racist films of the 30s-50s: we must recognize the racism but appreciate the artistry of the performers. The anthology is useful in that it provides a range of Daly's writings over time--I think her arguments about women in ballet become more nuanced in later pieces.

I'm eager to get to her essays on dance criticism (i.e., the unpublished "Interested Act of Dance Crtiticism"). More to talk about later!


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