The Dance Claimed Me: A Biography of Pearl Primus

Yale University Press, 2011 M05 31 - 416 páginas
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Pearl Primus (1919-1994) blazed onto the dance scene in 1943 with stunning works that incorporated social and racial protest into their dance aesthetic. In "The Dance Claimed Me," Peggy and Murray Schwartz, friends and colleagues of Primus, offer an intimate perspective on her life and explore her influences on American culture, dance, and education. They trace Primus's path from her childhood in Port of Spain, Trinidad, through her rise as an influential international dancer, an early member of the New Dance Group (whose motto was "Dance is a weapon"), and a pioneer in dance anthropology. Primus traveled extensively in the United States, Europe, Israel, the Caribbean, and Africa, and she played an important role in presenting authentic African dance to American audiences. She engendered controversy in both her private and professional lives, marrying a white Jewish man during a time of segregation and challenging black intellectuals who opposed the "primitive" in her choreography. Her political protests and mixed-race tours in the South triggered an FBI investigation, even as she was celebrated by dance critics and by contemporaries like Langston Hughes. For "The Dance Claimed Me," the Schwartzes interviewed more than a hundred of Primus's family members, friends, and fellow artists, as well as other individuals to create a vivid portrayal of a life filled with passion, drama, determination, fearlessness, and brilliance.

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The Dance Claimed Me: The Biography of Pearl Primus

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Peggy and Murray Schwartz, who are married and who were both employed at University of Massachusetts Amherst, here explore the life of Pearl Primus (1919–94), with whom they worked and socialized ... Leer comentario completo

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Mrs Pearl Primus along with Syvila Ford and Ned Williams had given me my start in ethnic dance decades ago. It was their training that had given me a firm foundation in then known as Ethnic Dance. I highly recommend this book to all dancers to touch and connect with the earthliness and symbolism of the ritual movement of dance, by reading this exceptional on the pioneer of African Dance in America. It was through these pioneers that I became a internationally acclaimed Indian Classical Dancer in my own right. Anna Kisselgoff of The NY Times stated that I was a "natural dancer," while Robert J. Pierce of the Village Voice stated that my dance had "echoed the nuances of the fame Balasaraswati." It was through these pioneers in Ethnic Dance that had continuously encouraged me to master Indian Classucal Dance. Thank you Pearl, Syvila and Ned for touching my life. Thank you Peggy Schwartz for keeping Pearl's legacy alive. Kudos to you!  

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Pearl Primus Timeline
A Note on Sources and Documentation
Works Cited


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Acerca del autor (2011)

Peggy Schwartz is professor emeritus of dance and former director of the dance program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Murray Schwartz is former dean of humanities and fine arts at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He teaches literature at Emerson College.

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