Apollo's Angels by Jennifer Homans

Category: Authors
Location: Adrian Lamb Room

Jennifer Homans, author of Apollo’s Angels: A History of Ballet, will be at the Library on Tuesday, January 10, at 7:30 p.m.

Apollo's Angels follows ballet across continents and through time, from its beginnings as an elegant West European court art to its elaboration under the Russian Tsars; from its place at the forefront of 20th century modernism to its high water mark in Britain, America, and the USSR in the Cold War years. Homans illuminates both the formal development of the art and the ways that revolution, war, and the changing social and political landscape shaped dancers, choreography, and performance.


The book includes portraits of ballet’s pivotal figures and stars from Marie Taglioni to Galina Ulanova and George Balanchine; evocative descriptions of dances; and superb narrative set pieces ranging from Marie Antoinette’s performance as a white-frocked shepherdess to the dramatic defection of the Kirov Ballet’s Rudolf Nureyev to the West. It ends with a critical essay on the state of ballet today, reflecting on why the story of ballet may now be coming to a close.  

Equally informed by a passion for history and a passion for dance, Apollo's Angels is a must-read for anyone interested in politics and the arts.

Jennifer Homans is a former professional dancer trained at the North Carolina School of the Arts and, the School of American Ballet. She performed with the Chicago Lyric Opera Ballet, the San Francisco Ballet and the Pacific Northwest Ballet. Currently the dance critic for The New Republic, she has also published with The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, The New York Review of Books, and The Guardian, among others. She holds a B.A. from Columbia University and a PhD in Modern European History from New York University. She is presently a Distinguished Scholar in Residence at New York University.