Women with pizzazz. Dances to shock and enchant. With heroines like Josephine Baker and Isadora Duncan, this was never going to be a conventional history. Buonaventura's book is rich with fascinating anecdotes (like the New Jersey girl arrested for dancing the Turkey Trot on her lunch hour) and astonishing facts (the first geisha were men), as well as tender portrayals of dancers whose stage antics have earned them lasting fame. The author takes us to Buenos Aires and the first immigrants dancing the tango; to Paris and the bawdy entertainers of the Moulin Rouge; to Chicago and New York, where struggling black Americans cakewalk, charleston and shimmy their long road from slavery. She returns to the Middle East, and the Arabic dance that led to a life-long fascination with the dancing body. On the way, she takes in Princess Diana, anorexia, transvestism and cosmetic surgery. This is a book for anyone intrigued by the sublime, sexy and downright surreal ways we find to strut our stuff.
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