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Library News

25 June 2012

We bring you the latest news from the ISTD Library

New Acquisitions

A Dance Through Time: Images of Western Social Dancing from the Middle Ages to Modern Times by Jeremy Barlow

From medieval dances of courtship and celebration to Strictly Come Dancing and hip hop, this richly illustrated book encompasses 700 years of social dance.

Jeremy Barlow explores how over the centuries, artists and illustrators have represented dance in a stylized and often humorous manner, with curved, flowing lines for the gracious dancer and angular postures for the uncouth, rustic, or exhibitionistic performer.  Drawing on a range of materials from the Bodleian Library, including manuscripts, visual art, dance cards, and invitations to balls, he also shows the imaginative ways in which artists and illustrators have responded to the challenge of creating a sense of movement.

Each image is carefully analysed for what it can reveal to us about behavioural codes and satirical intent, providing an unusual insight into the social history and imagery of dance.

Fit to Dance 2: Report of the second national inquiry into dancers’ health and injury in the UK edited by Helen Laws

Just as the NHS has announced plans to open its first specialist dance injury clinic, with hopes for others to follow around the UK, the ISTD library has acquired this report into dancer’s health.

Fit to Dance 2 follows on from the ground-breaking 1996 publication Fit to Dance?, instigated by Dr Peter Brinson and Dance UK. Research presented in Fit to Dance? highlighted the causes and consequences of the high injury rate among dancers and called for better understanding and support of dancers’ healthcare. The 1996 report gave impetus to the national programme of education and awareness-raising led by Dance UK’s Healthier Dancer Programme.

Fit to Dance 2 presents and compares the health, lifestyle and injury status of dancers in 2003 with the situation 10 years previously and includes an additional survey of dance teachers. The book provides a clear picture of provision for dancers’ health and injury prevention in dance companies and vocational dance schools, and updated recommendations for the dance profession based on these findings.

Fit to Dance 2 is on the reading list for the ISTD’s Level 6 Diploma in Dance Pedagogy.

At the Sign of the Harlequin’s Bat by Isabelle Stoughton

A very personal memory of Cyril Beaumont by the lady who worked with him in the 1950s. Contains some interesting letters from Beaumont, with remarks about many of the dancers of the day.

A Guide to Living with Hyper-Mobility Syndrome by I Knight

“This is a book for anyone who wants to understand the personal impact of hyper-mobility syndrome, as much as its clinical presentation and management, without all the medical jargon.” For all who are challenged on a daily basis with this condition.

Free Yourself from Back Pain by N Kingsley

Subtitled, a guide to the Alexander Technique. “If you have ever suffered back pain or muscular tension, this is the book for you. Colour photography and illustrations accompany the lively and informative text which clearly conveys new and healthy ways of moving.”

The Hollywood Story by R Pickard

Covering the output of all the main studios from Warner Bros. at the beginning of sound in 1927, to Universal’s Out of Africa in 1985 winning seven Academy Awards, and the advent of TV. Lavishly illustrated with both coloured and black and white photos, this book gives a fascinating insight into the great stars of the era and the background of some of the greatest films ever made.

Torvill and Dean by J Hennessy

First published in 1984, this book “shows them as they really are: quiet, unassuming young people with a tremendous talent that has taken them all the way to the top.” And still giving enormous pleasure to large audiences today.

La Sylphide – The life of Marie Taglioni by L Hill

Tracing her rather traumatic childhood, and the exhausting training by her father Phillipe for her debut. It tells how Marie overcame round shoulders, over long arms and legs, and a plain face, to become one of the first and finest dancers of the Romantic School. There is a useful table of dates and some delightful illustrations.

Ninette de Valois – An English Ballet edited by D Gayle

Published here for the first time, the illuminating talk by Madam given at the Yorkshire Ballet Seminars in 1981, one hour duration and no notes! Together with fond personal memories from David Gayle and the Memorial Address by Sir Peter Wright, give a real insight into the life of this most remarkable woman.

The book also contains an article written by de Valois entitled ‘Some Problems of Ballet Today.’ Providing fascinating reading for all lovers of ballet, dance and art.

Review by Margaret Allenby Jaffé

Anything that enables us to preserve our heritage can only be of immense value, both to us and to future generations. David Gayle has done a great service to the ballet world – in fact to the world in general – in preserving the thoughts and opinions of Dame Ninette de Valois.

Dame Ninette’s strength and creativity formed the secure foundation on which she built the English Ballet. Her opinions presented in her illuminating talk to the Yorkshire Ballet Seminars during the fiftieth celebration of the English Ballet in 1981, coupled with her article published in 1955 entitled ‘Some problems in ballet today,’ throw a knowledgeable and analytical light on the ballet world, from the mind of the greatest force in English Ballet.

Starting with the creation of our own National Ballet, Madam’s knowledge and understanding have spread their influence worldwide, not only for England, but in the world hierarchy of dance, and in creating and encouraging an entire generation of dancers, choreographers and teachers, who, in turn have made England the world leader in dance and ballet.

Included in the book is Sir Peter Wright’s caring and beautifully written memorial address to Madam, which carries forward her thoughts on a National Ballet and all that implies.

Written with great respect and love, by one who was guided and influenced by Madam’s incredible knowledge and creativity, it is a book to be treasured by the dance world, and we are indebted to Mr Gayle for his determination in preserving this most valuable material.

A Dancer in Wartime. One girl’s journey from the Blitz to Sadler’s Wells by Gillian Lynne

At last! A book about the personality who, after Zelia Raye, was one of the early influences in our Modern Theatre technique used today. Starting with the articles she wrote for the Dancing Times, and the classes taught at the ISTD Congress in the 1950s, followed by the brilliant choreography for the stage musicals that have toured worldwide.

This autobiography covers her first dance classes and training, to her appearance as the Fairy of the Enchanted Garden in the Sleeping Beauty, the ballet that reopened the Royal Opera House in 1946 after the war.

The story is full of passion, dedication and tenacity, with insights into so many dance personalities the era. A truly inspiring read for all.

Society Dancing – Fashionable Bodies in England 1870–1920 by T J Buckland

From time to time I have delved into this period of our dancing heritage for various aspects for different researchers, but here is a book that paints a wonderful picture from so many different angles of the social scene, the people and their dances.

The illustrations and quotes are a delight, and I am sure the research knowledge in the text will be an eye-opener to many teachers of today.


A mystery to solve

Way back in 2003, I was presented with an archive of material relating to Gudrun Hildebrandt who taught at The Stage-Dance Academy, 17 North End Rd, Golder’s Green NW11 in the 1930s.

The material presents an amazing career of a ballerina, actress, writer, film star working with Max Reinhardt in the 1900s in Berlin, as dance teacher and lecturer.

I had a quick query at the Laban centre, National Film Archives, Theatre Museum and The Dancing Times, resulting in no trace of the lady!

In early January of this year, we had a letter relating to the article by Christina Ballard entitled ‘Dancing into your 80s,’ published on page 38 of issue 458 of DANCE, and the lady mentioned a class with a German lady in the Swiss Cottage area. Could this have been Gudrun Hildebrandt?

Any information would be most welcome, as this fascinating archive needs to be put in order and catalogued. Please email library@istd.org if you have any information.

Another mystery to solve

Does anyone know where Phyllis Haylor was buried? Please email library@istd.org if you have any information.


London College of Dance Network

On 3rd September, past students of London College came together for the 2011 AGM, delicious lunch, and of course much reminiscence with old friends.

Sadly, quite a few had to send apologies for absence, and on the day there was a party of about 25, happily including Phrosso Pfister, who missed last year due to illness, but unhappily without Nansi Hannah this year, due to a very ‘dodgy’ knee.

The meeting was again held on the top floor of St Georges Hotel, Langham Place, with the magnificent view over London in all directions.

The added bonus was a talk by Jacqueline Smith-Autard on ‘How Technology can aid teaching, dance performance and composition.’ She had brought much of the technology with her, and to most of us, this was a magical window into the future of teaching movement, saving hours of time for the teacher and giving the dancer great personal initiative and control. It left me fervently wishing I had been able to use the technology when choreographing for musicals with never enough rehearsal time!

Updating of the website is underway and all contributions and suggestions are welcome. The increase of membership being the foremost priority.

Have you been in touch with members of your year at College just lately? If they are not members of the Network, why not try to get at least two to join, and come with you next year to have a really interesting and enjoyable day.

Mollie Webb


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To book a visit please call +44 (0)20 7377 1577 or email library@istd.org 

ISTD Library, ISTD Headquarters, Imperial House, 22/26 Paul Street, London EC2A 4QE



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