Plié Ball!

Baseball Meets Dance on Stage and Screen

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About the Book

From the vaudeville gyrations of New York Giants star pitchers Rube Marquard and Christy Mathewson, to Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra as hoofing infielders in Take Me Out to the Ball Game, to the stage and screen versions of Damn Yankees, the connection between baseball and dance is an intimate, perhaps surprising one.
Covering more than a century of dancing ballplayers and baseball-inspired dance, this entertaining study examines the connection in film and television, in theatrical productions and in choreography created for some of the greatest dancers and dance companies in the world.

About the Author(s)

Jeffrey M. Katz is a librarian and educator who works with teens and young adults at the New York Public Library. His articles and reviews have appeared in Columbia: The Magazine of Northwest History, Marketing Library Services, Public Libraries, and School Library Journal. He lives in New York City.

Bibliographic Details

Jeffrey M. Katz
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 304
Bibliographic Info: 47 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6406-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2535-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments and Dedication vi

Foreword by Edward Villella 1

Preface 3

Introduction—The Ballet of Baseball: Pirouettes on the Pitcher’s Mound and Jetés in the Outfield 9

1. On Stage I: Music Halls, Vaudeville, Broadway and More—19th Century through Early 20th Century 15

Interlude: Choreographers on Dance and Baseball—Chris Black, Gail Conrad and Ana Maria ­Tekina-eirú Maynard 47

2. On Stage II: Theater from the Mid–20th Century through the Early 21st 56

Interlude: Choreographers and Dancers on Dance and Baseball—

Louis Kavouras, Peter Pucci and Nick Ross 93

3. On Stage III: Concert Dance in the 20th Century 105

Interlude: Choreographers and Dancers on Dance and Baseball—

Lisa de Ribere, Christopher Fleming and Marianna Tcherkassky 133

4. On Stage IV: Concert Dance in the Early 21st Century 148

Interlude: A Physical Therapist, a Ballet Company Volunteer Coordinator, a Dance Company Director and a Baseball Executive Talk about Dance and Baseball—Dean Caswell, Joan Quatrano, Lynn Parkerson and Steve Cohen 164

5. In Front of the Camera: Film, Television and Video 186

Final Thoughts: Interviews with Moses Pendleton and Edward Villella 232

Appendix: Baseball and Dance in Youth Literature 255

Chapter Notes 259

Bibliography 274

Index 283

Book Reviews & Awards

“For those of us who have known all along that baseball has pervaded every aspect of life, along comes a book to affirm that assertion to the nth degree. If you’d thought the only corollary between baseball and dance was the pirouetting of a double-play combination at second base, you’ve got a lot to learn, and Jeffrey M. Katz is the one to teach you. Plie Ball! is sui generis; there’s nothing I’ve read or seen like it…authoritative…. The book is nothing if not thorough”—The SABR Deadball Era Committee Newsletter.