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Synopsis

The figure of Carmen has emerged as a cipher for the unfettered female artist. Dance historian and performance theorist Ninotchka Bennahum shows us Carmen as embodied historical archive, a figure through which we come to understand the promises and dangers of nomadic, transnational identity, and the immanence of performance as an expanded historical methodology. Bennahum traces the genealogy of the female Gypsy presence in her iconic operatic role from her genesis in the ancient Mediterranean world, her emergence as flamenco artist in the architectural spaces of Islamic Spain, her persistent manifestation in Picasso, and her contemporary relevance on stage. This many-layered geography of the Gypsy dancer provides the book with its unique nonlinear form that opens new pathways to reading performance and writing history. Includes rare archival photographs of Gypsy artists.

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