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I Put a Spell on You: Dancing Women from Salome to Madonna Hardcover – 15 Jul 2003


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Saqi Books (15 July 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0863567886
  • ISBN-13: 978-0863567889
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 2.3 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,001,720 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'MUST READ - read this and strut your stuff.' Tatler 'Buonaventura's theatrical flourish never deserts her. The breadth of her knowledge is apparent in every gem of an anecdote.' Daily Telegraph 'Fascinating.' The Big Issue 'Brilliantly researched and utterly absorbing.' Venue 'Truly fascinating ... this is a riveting read even for newcomers to dance.' Decode 'Dancing is sexy and subversive. If you can't get onto a dance floor, read Buonaventura's book, which is the next best thing.' Joan Smith 'Engaging and informative and deliciously opinionated. The most enjoyable dance lesson Wendy Buonaventura's readers will ever have had.' Irma Kurtz

About the Author

Wendy Buonaventura is the author of the bestselling Serpent of the Nile: Women and Dance in the Arab World. An established dancer and choreographer, her performance work was recently the subject of a television documentary, Making Mimi. She has written and presented programmes for BBC Radio 4, and has performed and lectured extensively throughout Europe and the USA. Her website is www.buonaventura.com

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Nicky on 10 Jan. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
a great romp through a history of dance from a feminist perspective. Easy to read, and full of information. Gave me a great perspective on the history of popular dance styles, and made me realise just how popular dance has been through the last few centuries. My only problem with this book is that a lot of her facts and figures are unsubstantiated, and some of the more mind-boggling ones just don't stand up to even the most basic research. Some of the more flamboyant claims (in Buenos Aries in 1914 there were 10,000 men to every 1 woman?) and even some which are a matter of opinion (Josephine Baker had 'heavy thighs'?) make me wonder about some of the other claims which she uses to support her arguments.

This said, its still a good book, and has given me a better view of this part of history.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 Oct. 2003
Format: Hardcover
extract from Daily Telegraph review (London)by JUSTINE PICARDIE:
'Buonaventura's theatrical flourish never deserts her in her bravura leaps through history. This is a book that can be enjoyed by a wider audience than dance fans, and the breadth of her research is evident in every gem of an anecdote...Buonaventura knows dance to be "a language beyond words"; but she has somehow translated it so that the story of how we move reveals also what moves us.'
extract from Venue Magazine by LESLEY BARNES:
'Brilliantly researched and utterly absorbing...The real meat of this book comes when Buonaventura addresses the plight of the working-class dancers looked down on by polite society...Fascinating too is the way she traces the relationship between dance and women's clothing,which has in turn liberated and entrapped them...I know it's a book to which I'll return time and again.'
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By N.P.Campion on 14 Oct. 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book was recommended to me for some research I was doing. Being a man, and not a dancer, it wasn't the sort of book I'd normally pick up. But it was absolutely un-put-downable. I especially liked the accounts of how working class women - ordinary women in different cultures - have empowered themselves socially through performing. Well worth buying and guaranteed to keep you awake into the early hours.
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Format: Hardcover
This book did more for me than I had first imagined. I was intrigued by accounts of dancers' lives and takes on dance as I leafed through, but it turned out the book did more. It spoke of long-ago events that shape the culture of today, it spoke of the roots of the concerns I had seen on the faces and in the actions of fellow dancers. Its account help me start to feel clearer on what my obstacles were.

I would recommend it to anyone brave enough to look inside! I will recommend it to my son, so that he can understand more of the things that shape the world he is living in. So that he may be better able to lay to rest some of the fears and compulsions that he witnesses and that baffle him. It's a book worth reading from cover to cover!
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