Lloyd E. McIlveen’s book aims to celebrate dance history and encourage readers to cut a rug themselves. While the author’s enthusiasm for the subject is admirable, the book is marred by a convoluted writing style, replete with errors in writing mechanics.
It’s often difficult to grasp what the author is driving at. He seems at several points to be commenting on the commercialization of dance, and he appears dubious about television dance competition shows, but in both cases his prose is so obscure that his point is lost. Readers, for example, will be confounded by this sentence: “Dance style progress may become more strenuous than professional dancers can handle and cause a sick dance recession of some nature.”
The history of dance is repetitively sketched in several chapters, marred by such questionable judgments as the assessment of Polynesian dance as “still a very culturally dated dance and used only for its south seas [sic] affect [sic].”
Finally, McIlveen’s eight-page summary of footwork for ten dances ranges in detail from three paragraphs (fox trot) to one sentence (polka). None of them are described with sufficient clarity to assist the beginner.
Technical issues abound. For example, McIlveen incorrectly spells country names (“Pakastan,” “Aphganistan”); worse, though, in a book about dance is his misspelling of “flamenco” as “fleminco,” and “bossa nova” as “bosonava.”
Those who want to read about dance history should look elsewhere (Joan Cass’s venerable Dancing through History is a good place to start); those who want to learn to dance, alas, won’t find much useful information here. A careful revise is suggested.
Also available as an ebook.