No Fixed Points


You are viewing an older version of the Yalebooks website. Please visit out new website with more updated information and a better user experience:

Dance in the Twentieth Century

Nancy Reynolds and Malcolm McCormick

View Inside Format: Paper
Price: $35.00
Our shopping cart only supports Mozilla Firefox. Please ensure you're using that browser before attempting to purchase.

The definitive history of twentieth-century theatrical dance, enhanced with more than 200 exceptional photographs

Winner of the 2005 Congress on Research in Dance Award for Outstanding Publication in Dance Research

"This work is not just reader friendly, it's downright compelling in its chronicle of the most explosively revolutionary century the art form of dance has ever experienced."—Karen Campbell, Christian Science Monitor

This book chronicles one hundred years of dramatic developments in ballet, modern, and experimental dance for stage and screen in Europe and North America. The volume is magisterial in scope, encompassing the history of theatrical dance from 1900 through 2000. Beginning with turn-of-the-century dancer-choreographers like Loie Fuller, Isadora Duncan, Michel Fokine, and a bit later Vaslav Nijinsky, and proceeding through the profusion of dance styles performed today, the book provides an unparalleled view of dance in performance as it changed and grew in the twentieth century. Nancy Reynolds and Malcolm McCormick set dance in broader cultural and historical contexts, examine specific dance works, and explore the contributions of outstanding choreographers, performers, visual artists, impresarios, composers, critics, and other figures. They discuss the breakaway barefoot dance of the early 1900s and demonstrate its links with later forms and styles. With unusual detail, fascinating illustrations, and wide-ranging insights, this book is an indispensable guide to the transformations in the dance scene of the twentieth century.

Nancy Reynolds is director of research for the George Balanchine Foundation and a former member of the New York City Ballet. She is the author of Repertory in Review, among other books, and was the winner of the 2013 Bessie Award for Outstanding Service to the Field of Dance. Malcolm McCormick was a professional dancer and costume designer and a member of the dance faculty at the University of California, Los Angeles.

“There is simply no other history of twentieth-century dance that is as detailed, comprehensive, and readable as No Fixed Points. Much thought has gone into it, along with prodigious research.”—Lynn Garafola, co-editor of The Ballets Russes and Its World

"If anyone wants to know the history of international dance during the 20th century, they need look no further than this comprehensive and authoritative account of it, skillfully compiled by Nancy Reynolds."—Moira Shearer

"No Fixed Points is a monumental tribute to dance in the twentieth century. Astoundingly well researched, insightful, clear, and inspiring, it is a real treasure."—Frederic Franklin; Dancer, Director, Choreographer 

"Nancy Reynolds and Malcolm McCormick focus an enormous spectrum of information into a clear and elegant narrative. At the same time they make us feel the passion that produced contemporary dance and that continues to drive its revolution."—Christine Dakin, Artistic Director, Martha Graham Dance Company

"With its encyclopedic scope, this new book by dance authority Nancy Reynolds will be an essential resource in the library of anyone interested in the history and evolution of 20th century dance."—Edward Villella (Miami City Ballet) 

"A book that’s both an indispensable reference, and a reading experience as absorbing as an adventure tale. An achievement at once vital and invaluable."—Alan M. Kriegsman 

"No Fixed Points takes its title from Albert Einstein and, in its trove of new and recycled information and sophisticated analysis, brings together generations of thinking and commentary by critics, historians, artists, and impresarios. . . . Anyone contemplating entering the dance field—and certainly those already working in it—would do well to take a couple of weeks’ wallow in this blockbuster, and then assess whether they have anything new to contribute. . . . You could go out and get 30 dance books and absorb much of the same information you’ll find here, or you could work your way through this volume—never tedious, always enlightening, and with a bracing focus on the lives and loves of the story’s many protagonists—and then go and read more about the artists and forms that particularly pique your interest. . . . Rare is the volume that’s both essential reference and page-turner; No Fixed Points is one."—Elizabeth Zimmer, Village Voice

"A terpsichorean blockbuster."—Publishers Weekly

"Carefully written and impeccably researched. . . . Studded with original cast photographs of many of the works described, this will be the jewel of any dance history collection. Students and dance enthusiasts alike will find much more to read and revel in. Highly recommended."—Library Journal (starred review)

"No Fixed Points: Dance in the 20th Century is cause for great celebration. But this work is not just reader friendly, it’s downright compelling in its chronicle of the most explosively revolutionary century the art form of dance has ever experienced. . . . Encyclopedic in scope. . . . Captivating. . . . This is a major achievement that should stand as a lasting tribute to dance in the 20th century. . . . Don’t ignore the copious footnotes (a whopping 104 pages of them). Not only do they give scholarly heft and insight into the authors’ research, they provide some of the book’s most intriguing reading. . . . The average dance lover . . . will be captivated by this compelling narrative."—Karen Campbell, Christian Science Monitor

"Dance buffs will find it informative and heartening to read No Fixed Points: Dance in the Twentieth Century, a tombstone-sized, profusely illustrated history. . . . An avalanche of lucidly presented, convincingly interpreted facts. To invert a line from the film Sunset Boulevard, today’s choreographers may have gotten small, but you can’t put down No Fixed Points without realizing that their art form once was very, very big. . . . The book succeeds brilliantly at the essential task of writing a first draft of 20th century dance history. Those who seek to shape the unknowable future of ballet and modern dance will henceforth read this book to learn about their extraordinary past."—Terry Teachout, Los Angeles Times Book Review

"The length, the depth, even the heft of this new book on dance . . . are crucial to the role it is going to play in the dance community for the foreseeable future. . . . Reynolds and McCormick have produced a work that is completely unlike a standard reference book; you don’t just look things up in it—you read it. Here is a coherent, reasoned and entertaining chronicle of dance performance in the West over the hundred years that are unquestionably the fullest and most complicated in the long history of this fragmented and elusive art. . . . Anyone with any knowledge of dance history, or interest in it, is going to read this book saluting one aspect of it, arguing with the next, qualifying something else. . . . For the work as a whole we can only be grateful."—Robert Gottlieb, New York Times Book Review
“Here is a coherent, reasoned and entertaining chronicle of dance performance in the West over the [last] hundred years. . . . Extraordinary. . . . Intelligent and responsible. . . . For the work as a whole we can only be grateful.”—Robert Gottlieb, New York Times

"This masterly history presents a grand, old-fashioned narrative of the development of ballet, modern dance, and postmodern choreography. . . . Where tastes differ, [Reynolds and McCormick] generally present both sides, yet their tone, fluctuating from awestruck to archly dismissive, makes clear that the authors—both former dancers—care too much about their subject to be impartial."—"Briefly Noted," New Yorker

“The dance book of the year. No Fixed Points is not only extraordinarily informative, it’s amazingly readable. You may not agree with every word, but you’ll read every word with pleasure and profit.”—New York Observer

“Finally, and indispensable reference book for anyone interested n how dance developed in the modern era. A magisterial survey of dance pioneers, ideas and influences, with well-chosen illustrations and readily digestible text.”—Jann Parry, The Observer (London)

“This is, in sum, a work of astonishing and comprehensive research, of intellectual clarity, of sure understanding, of—ultimately—passionate belief in dance itself’.”—Clement Crisp, Dancing Times

“[A] remarkable book. . . . Leaping smoothly from ballet to modern and post-modern dance, and from gilded theatres to the silver screen, [Reynolds and McCormick] entertain and educate with equal aplomb. They capture the vitality of the pioneering personalities and the essence of their theories and describe their creations in evocative detail. . . . Every dancer, student, academic, dance follower, patron and fan will read this authoritative history with pleasure, and refer to it with confidence.”—Barbara Newman, Country Life

“A hefty and authoritative account of 20th-century dance. . . . No Fixed Points is more than a brilliant synthesis of existing dance scholarship. As much as it will be an indispensable textbook for students in university dance programs.”—Michael Crabb, Canada National Post

“This is, in sum, a work of astonishing and comprehensive research, of intellectual clarity, of sure understand, of—ultimately—passionate belief in dance itself.”—Clement Crisp,

“A much-needed and indispensable new book chronicling dance in the 20th century. In more than 900 highly readable pages, Nancy Reynolds and Malcolm McCormick explore in wonderful detail the fascinating story of modern dance and its influence on ballet (as well as ballet’s impact on modern).”—Marc Shulgold,

No Fixed Points must surely be the definitive survey of ballet and modern dance in the 20th century. The black-and-white illustrations are sparse, but the authors, Former dancer and Balanchine expert Nancy Reynolds and Malcolm McCormick, chart the history and development of dance with exemplary knowledge and flair.”—Christopher Hudson, Daily Mail

“Though it’s encyclopedic in size and scope, this is a book to read, not just to consult. Within the thematic sections are essays on choreography, style, dancers, and companies, each flowing easily into the next without the slightest senses of textbookery. The writing is graceful and lucid, the critical stance open-minded but judicious, and the overall intelligence truly a marvel.”—Laura Shapiro, New York Metro

No Fixed Points is the indispensable guide to understanding and appreciation that serious dance lovers have been waiting for, essentially replacing every other general overview. . . . It is encyclopedic in scope, formidably scholarly and enticingly readable, offering a brilliant amalgam of narrative fact and aesthetic analysis; altogether a daunting achievement.”—Michael Crabb, Dance International

“Dance in the 20th century, its busiest and most productive time of all, is wonderfully captured in Nancy Reynolds and Malcolm McCormick’s finely illustrated new book. . . . All dance fans must read this book; anyone who wishes to be entertained about dance needs to have it always to hand.”—Francis Mason, New York Sun

No Fixed Points is remarkable for its thoroughness and . . . it is a joy to read.”—Doris Hering, Dance Magazine

“Powerful. . . . A well-written, readable look at dance in Europe and North America from 1900. Ballet, modern, stage dance and the avant-garde are included as the two authors cover the dance world, events around the dance world, and both major and minor dance makers. . . . This is the most up-to-the-minute, comprehensive look at dance of our time.”—Judith Hatcher, Dancer

“The sheer scope of a survey of 20th-century dance is intimidating, but Reynolds and McCormick’s 800-page masterpiece proves they were up to the task. The comprehensive, well-organized text traces the major happenings in the dance world over the last 100 years chronologically, then thematically. . . . No Fixed Points will prove to be an invaluable reference guide as well as informative, if weighty, reading for dance lovers.”—

“You can’t put it down. . . . All the assuredness and brilliance of great historians at the top of their game. . . . These authors pull off about six literary miracles per page.”—Laura Shapiro, Dance Now

Selected as an outstanding book by University Press Books for Public and Secondary School Libraries

Finalist for Independent Publisher Book Awards 2004 in the Photography category

Winner of the 2005 Congress on Research in Dance award for Outstanding Publication in Dance Research

 Selected by Choice Magazine as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2005

Finalist for the 2003 Theatre Library Association’s George Freedley Award
Nancy Reynolds is the winner of the 2013 Bessie Award for Outstanding Service to the Field of Dance.
ISBN: 9780300259322
Publication Date: February 9, 2021
928 pages, 7 3/8 x 9 1/4
200 b/w illus.