Ballet's history is not just about choreography and technique — it's also a history of nationalization, the changing ways we view the body, shifting gender norms and class struggles. Historian Jennifer Homans chronicles the art form in a cultural history, Apollo's Angels.
This interview was originally broadcast on December 13, 2010. Apollo's Angels is now available in paperback.
Ballet's history is not just about choreography and technique -- it's also a history of nationalization, the changing ways we view the body, shifting gender norms and class struggles. Historian Jennifer Homans chronicles the art form in a new cultural history, Apollo's Angels.
Artistic director for the Houston Ballet, Ben Stevenson. He’s been with the ballet for over 25 years, turning it into a premiere dance company. The New York Times’ dance critic said of Stevenson, (he) “is one of the most original figures in the development of regional ballet in America.” Stevenson’s own choreography for the Houston ballet include the full length works: “Swan Lake,” “Cinderella,” “Peer Gynt,” “Dracula,” and “Cleopatra.” Stevenson is a native of Britain.
Principal dancer for the Houston Ballet, and the first African-American to be a principal dancer, Lauren Anderson. She began studying at the ballet’s academy at the age of 7, and working with Stevenson at the age of 11 when he was hired by the ballet. Stevenson choreographed “Cleopatra,” for her.
Choreographer Eliot Feld. He founded the Feld Ballet in 1974 as a place where classical ballet and modern dance could exist together. The company is still going strong, touring throughout America and overseas. Feld has also created ballets for many of the world's great companies, among them the American Ballet Theatre, the National Ballet of Canada, and the New York City Ballet. (REBROADCAST. Original date 11/10/89).
Dancer and choreographer Jacques d'Amboise (dahm-bwasz). d'Amboise has done more than anyone alive to bring the joy of dance to the public. For over 30 years, he was principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, and a protege of choreographer George Balanchine. While still with NYCB, d'Ambrose founded the National Dance Institute (NDI) as a vehicle to teach dance and other arts to children. d'Amboise has more recently extended his classes to children with physical and emotional disabilities.