Jody Sperling - Time Lapse DanceJody Sperling is a dancer, choreographer and dance scholar. She is the founder and Artistic Director of Time Lapse Dance. This is Jody's blog.
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The City’s Intricate Ballet

I’m re-reading Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of the Great American Cities. This should be required reading for city-dwellers. Written in 1961, the book is partly an attack against a certain kind of city planning (espoused by Robert Moses et al) that was devastating the urban landscape. But mostly it’s a celebration of urban living. Here’s a wonderful passage about the city’s “intricate ballet”:

“[The city's] order is all composed of movement and change, and although it is life, not art, we may fancifully call it the art form of the city and liken it to the dance–not to a simple-minded precision dance with everyone kicking up at the same time, twirling in unison and bowing off en masse, but to an intricate ballet in which the individual dancers and ensembles all have distinctive parts which miraculously reinforce each other and compose an orderly whole. The ballet of the good city sidewalk never repeats itself from place to place, and in any one place is always replete with new improvisations.” (Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of the Great American Cities, New York, 1961; p.50)

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