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"The dance theatre of Jean Cocteau"

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From a new email:

Dance Books is delighted to announce a new edition of Frank W. D. Ries's 'The dance theatre of Jean Cocteau'. First published in 1986 at the then exorbitant price of £60 (today's equivalent of nearly £150) the book's high price put it out of the reach of many potential readers, and we very much hope that our more reasonable priced edition will give this fascinating and very readable book the wider circulation it deserves.

In an artistic career spanning five decades, and for which he was best known as poet, artist, dramatist, designer and film-maker, Jean Cocteau was also involved, directly and indirectly, with nearly twenty ballets.

While he was not in the strictest sense a choreographer, his influence on such works as Parade, Le Jeune homme et la mort, Orphée, and La Dame à la licorne was all pervasive – from the “poésie” of the dramatic action, to lighting, to costume and set design. His creations, in collaboration with composers and choreographers, were fully integrated theatre pieces.
Frank Ries has researched all of Cocteau’s ballets and, using interviews, Cocteau’s own writings, reviews and critiques – some of which have never before been translated – presents this survey and analysis of Cocteau’s involvement in the world of dance.

He re-creates, from a new perspective, a portrait of a poet charged by Serge Diaghilev in pre-World War I Paris to “Astonish me!” and who made that command the inspiration of his career in dance.


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