July 21, 2009
9.25 Inches (US)
6.25 Inches (US)
1.8 Pounds (US)
$35.00 USD
v2.1 Reference

Martha Hill and the Making of American Dance

Martha Hill (1900–1995) was one of the most influential figures of twentieth century American dance. Her vision and leadership helped to establish dance as a serious area of study at the university level and solidify its position as a legitimate art form. Setting Hill’s story in the context of American postwar culture and women’s changing status, this riveting biography shows us how Hill led her colleagues in the development of American contemporary dance from the Kellogg School of Physical Education to Bennington College and the American Dance Festival to the Juilliard School at Lincoln Center. She created pivotal opportunities for Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, Charles Weidman, Hanya Holm, José Limón, Merce Cunningham, and many others. The book provides an intimate look at the struggles and achievements of a woman dedicated to taking dance out of the college gymnasium and into the theatre, drawing on primary sources that were previously unavailable. It is lavishly illustrated with period photographs.


“[T]his book should be in all performing arts collections. Essential. [Recommended for] all readers.”—J. Fisher, Choice

“One of the finest dance biographies I have ever read, Soares’s work represents the perfect blend of colorful and pertinent factual details and larger contextualizing ideas.”—Lisa Jo Sagolla, Back Stage

“A lively portrait of Martha Hill’s formative role in modern dance in the United States.”—Erin K. Dean, Dance Teacher

“Janet Soares has written a thorough, eloquent, and compelling biography of Martha Hill. … [she] has given us an extraordinary piece of scholarship, amply referenced and full of the kind of detail that brings not only a historical figure to life, but also, through Hill’s personal encounters, an understanding of the times and the social and political through-lines that continue to shape dance today.”—Glenna Batson, Journal of Dance Education

“Soares’s Martha Hill & the Making of American Dance is researched and written in dedicated service to dance history. Martha Hill mentored Janet Soares and clearly passed on a love of spreading the good word about the dance field. Through this lucid and insightful work, Soares passes on this love to all.”—Renee E. D’Aoust, Ballet-Dance Magazine

“Hill’s crucial role in modern dance history is comprehensively delineated in Janet Mansfield Soares’ exemplary 2009 biography, Martha Hill and the Making of American Dance.”—Lisa Jo Sagolia, Film Journal International

“Soares makes an invaluable contribution toward broadening our understanding of what she calls the 'narrow lineage' of our history.”—Andrea Harris, Dance Chronicle


"This book offers an intimate and objective portrait of one of the most extraordinary women of the twentieth century, and is a must read for anyone interested in the development of the American modern dance."—Carla Maxwell, artistic director, Limón Dance Company

"A superb book about the great Martha Hill, a visionary who supported the revolutionary pioneers of American modern dance. This portrait is at once intimate and touching. A must for all lovers of dance and its history."

—Lawrence Rhodes, artistic director, dance division, The Juillard School
Wesleyan University Press

9780819568991 : martha-hill-and-the-making-of-american-dance-soares
440 Pages
$35.00 USD

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