The journal Dance Index was founded by Lincoln Kirstein in 1942. Over the following seven years, 56 issues were published, presenting original scholarship on a wide range of dance subjects. In the spirit of its predecessor, the new Dance Index examines the multi-dimensional richness and diversity of the world of dance. Its intention is to surprise and excite a general audience with a new level of understanding and appreciation of the real and critical importance of dance in contemporary culture.
Land of a Thousand Dances
By Luc Sante
Introduction by Darryl Pinckney
DANCE INDEX, Volume 11
No. 2 Fall 2020
28 pages, 21 illustrations
Soul Train was a syndicated American television show broadcast, mostly on Saturdays during daylight hours, from a soundstage in Los Angeles from October 2, 1971, to March 26, 2006. It was created and produced by Don Cornelius, who also hosted the first 734 episodes (out of a total 1,117). It was, in essence, a teenage dance-party show, a genre that had many iterations over the years but was long epitomized by American Bandstand (1952–89). The difference between Soul Train and its predecessors was that its producer/host, cast, crew, and target audience—even its chief advertisers—were African American. This, of course, was not an incidental detail. Soul Train was a product and expression of black pride, born at a time of increasing African American economic as well as cultural self-determination.
On Soul Train, by contrast, dance was an art form, a language, a field of research and innovation, an active response to the equally fecund and continually changing force of the music.
When Noguchi Took the Stage
Perhaps unexpectedly, for all the literal weight and mass, ambitious scope, monumental scale, and real or would-be gravitas that characterize Noguchi’s widely varied creations, from delicate, wire-and-paper lamps to earnest declarations in stone, in the end many of them seem to add up to an art of peculiar, often ungraspable immanence. –Edward M. Gómez from DANCE INDEX, Volume 8 No. 1, Fall 2017
Jerome Robbins, Dancer
“I have found my faith. I am ready to declare myself. At once I have found the purpose and the spine of all I shall do and the regulation of my life. My religion shall become as fanatical as a devout priest’s can be, and there shall never pass a day that I will forget [to say] at least three prayers to my religion. I am taking on a pledge as important as a vow. My sole purpose is declared. My rising eating living loving sleeping shall all be affected by my faith. I shall be firm and straight and even cruel to be faithful. i shall dance. Yes . . . I shall dance. Say it over and over and over to infinitum. I shall dance. I shall dance . . .”
A photograph of the dance should be about the dance it intends to describe, but it should also be a good photograph: good, it should be stressed, in a way that does not cut across or obscure its first purpose, which is to describe the dance.
Jerry L. Thompson
I think people often ask if there are stories in your work or what is it about, or about your philosophy. Do you think that what you have to say to us is in the work itself?
Yes. It’s not outside of it. What you’re looking at is what it is. I have always thought that in its way, this could free people. [laughs] To look — to not expect something to look like something they’ve seen before. Then each spectator in his or her way has the right to make up their own mind.
Merce Cunningham in conversation with Nancy Dalva, New York City, June 6, 2009
To immerse oneself in an archive is to experience the miracle of revivification as the person’s authentic self is temporarily brought back through the act of material contact. For a moment history and present overlap and the chasm of time evaporates.
Degas: A Passion for Dance
The dancers provided Degas with an endless variety of movement, but they also made this famously unpleasant man aware of their humanity. Again and again, as we look at the paintings, the pastels, the drawings, the sculpture, we are shown that classical dance is hard, that the complex beauty of its different positions requires endless, daily sacrifice. Even if these young dancers are making these sacrifices not because, as would be the case today, they have a passionate vocation, but because, in fact, they would otherwise be laundresses or street walkers, they still deserve sympathy and admiration.