Review Of "The Grand Union: Accidental Anarchists Of Downtown Dance, 1970–1976" By W. Perron

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In this readable book, Perron (former editor in chief of Dance Magazine) investigates the impactful six-year history (1970–76) of the New York City–based dance improvisation collective Grand Union. As a young person Perron attended many Grand Union events, and she brings to the book that early influence as well as her 40-year history of choreographing, dancing, and editing. She draws effectively on interviews of former Grand Union members and of others from the downtown dance community. Writings of other critics, performers, and artists in several disciplines deepen the discussion. The book explores the creation of Grand Union and early influences on the group; profiles each dancer; chronicles both early and later performances; and considers several overarching questions about leadership, gender, and innovations in the group. Brief "interludes" throughout provide commentary on parallel improvisation methods and groups active during the same period. Perron makes excellent use of archival videos by analyzing a number of performances in detail. Also included are a full chronology of Grand Union performances, a partial playlist of music for performances, thorough notes, and a helpful bibliography. This is a robust remembrance and reflection. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; professionals.


This work is freely available courtesy of Choice Reviews. The review has been reproduced in full in the abstract field.

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