World of Dance Finally Recorded

Article excerpt

THE INTERNATIONAL ENCYCLOPEDIA OF DANCE

Edited by Selma Jeanne Cohen

Oxford University Press 6 volumes, $1,250 In comparison with music, art, architecture, and theater, the field of dance is still in its infancy. Only within the past few decades has it been taken seriously enough as an art form to warrant study of its history. Prior to that, university-level study of dance was often subsumed into programs in physical education and restricted primarily to technique and composition. The young researcher or student looking for a definitive source of basic historical information was out of luck. As the legendary choreographer Agnes de Mille once lamented, "Nothing is comprehensive, nothing catholic, nothing sweeping, and this we must have." The dance world finally has just such an inclusive reference source with the publication of the six-volume "International Encyclopedia of Dance." The first-ever multivolume encyclopedia devoted to dance and the first to represent the full spectrum of dance throughout history in more than 100 countries, it features nearly 2,000 in-depth articles, from theatrical forms to ritual and social dance. "Generations to come will regard 'The International Encyclopedia of Dance' as the definitive work in dance history," says Madeleine Nichols, curator of the Dance Collection at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. "As a reference work covering all forms of dance on a global scale, its value is immeasurable; as a library resource, it is indispensable. …