A History and Celebration of Dance

Review by James Reid

Published in The Dance Current, September 2006.

When I opened David Earle: A Choreographic Biography, I browsed through the photographs first. The impact of these carefully reproduced pictures is powerful. The sense of the passage of time is overwhelming. Images of Earle as a boy give way to those of a handsome youth whose gaze seems to be already looking forward to a long and unprecedented career.

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David Earle, and the honours bestowed upon him are well known in the world of dance. What may not be as well known, is the extensive range of dancers, choreography and performances associated with his career. Generous to a fault, the book contains photographs and descriptions of the hundreds of dancers Earle has worked with through the years. Over 100 works are featured, from Angelic Visitation in 1968 to The Heart at Night last year.  

Michele Green is an author who has also enjoyed a successful career as a dancer, dance teacher and director. In her Introduction, she writes that the impact of looking into Earle’s journals was “like opening a time capsule and becoming partner to David’s daily struggle.” What a time capsule she and David have opened!

In the chapbook enclosed with this book, Earle reflects, “I feel suddenly visible, fixed in time and form, after having lived with only the echoes of performances.” This visibility has rescued a part of the history of one of the most transitory of the arts.

There are good books. There are necessary books. Rarely do these two qualities coincide as they have here. If you have an interest in, or a passion for the dance, David Earle: A Choreographic Biography should be on your bookshelf. It should also be on the shelves of every library in Canada.

David Earle: A Choreographic Biography
by Michele Green
Dance Collection Danse Press/es, 2006
ISBN 0-929003-58-6
8.5”x11”, 238 pages, 150 photographs
$52.95

James Reid is a Guelph based writer and editor. His work has appeared in The Guardian, Canadian Forum, HighGrader Magazine, and The Globe and Mail Books. His previous article for the dance current was “A Joyous Tale Returns: Court of Miracles.” He became intrigued by dance through the commitment of his two daughters to its grace and power.