March-April 2017 | Page Turners

Books of note (new and not)

Agnes de Mille: Telling Stories in Broadway Dance
By Kara Anne Gardner
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Price: $35
264 pages; hardcover; 2016

This book explores choreographer de Mille’s Broadway legacy, discussing six musicals in depth—Oklahoma!, One Touch of Venus, Bloomer Girl, Carousel, Brigadoon, and Allegro. Gardner examines both de Mille’s artistic influence and her often overlooked work as an activist. A trailblazer in the role of choreographer/director, de Mille felt she deserved the same rights as librettists and composers. She contributed to revisions in dance copyright law and helped found a theatrical union, the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.

Underpants Dance
Written by Marlena Zapf and illustrated by Lynne Avril
Publisher: Dial Books
Price: $16.99
40 pages; hardcover; ages 3–5; 2014

An irreverent celebration of kids’ obsession with underwear—and a sly comment on the mixed messages kids get from the confusing world of adults. Underpants can be fancy or functional, but for preschoolers, they’re always funny. Take Lily McBloom, who loves doing silly dances to show off her fancy, frilly, new pink underpants. Big sister Marigold is horrified; she tells Lily she’s too big to show her underwear. But Lily is one creative girl, and with a little outside-the-box thinking, she finds a way to keep right on dancing.

Martha Graham in Love and War: The Life in the Work
By Mark Franko
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Price: $31.95
240 pages; hardcover; 2012

Graham matured as an artist during the global rise of fascism, World War II, and the Cold War. Using newly discovered archival sources, Franko reframes four of Graham’s pivotal creations—American Document (1938), Appalachian Spring (1944), Night Journey (1948), and Voyage (1953)—by exploring their rich historical and personal contexts. He traces how these works were influenced by Graham’s intense political feelings, her fascination with psychoanalysis, and her tumultuous personal and professional bond with dancer and choreographer Erick Hawkins.

Dinosaur Dance!
Written and illustrated by Sandra Boynton
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Price: $5.99
16 pages; board book; ages 1–5; 2016

“ZANG! BOP! KIDDLY POW! The DINOSAUR DANCE is starting NOW!” These dancing dinosaurs all have their own way of moving, whether it’s the Shimmy Shimmy Shake, the Quivery Quake, or the Cha-Cha-Cha. In this new board book from beloved children’s writer and illustrator Boynton (Barnyard Dance!; Happy Hippo, Angry Duck; and many more), this lively prehistoric bunch will get everyone’s tails shaking and feet stomping.