Garafola, Lynn 1946-

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Garafola, Lynn 1946-


Born December 12, 1946, in New York, NY; daughter of Louis (a printer) and Rose Joan (a homemaker) Garafola; married Eric Foner (a historian), May 1, 1980; children: Daria Rose. Education: Barnard College, A.B., 1968; Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York, M.Phil., 1979, Ph.D., 1985.


Home—New York, NY.


Berlitz Translation Service, New York, NY, translator and assistant director, 1970-72; Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, Brooklyn, NY, part-time lecturer, 1975-77; Dance (magazine), New York, NY, critic, feature writer, and editor, 1985—. Columbia University, lecturer, 1985 and 1986, adjunct assistant professor, 1988-89; Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities, scholar in residence, 1991-92; Barnard College, professor of dance, 2000—. New York State Council on the Arts, auditor for dance department, 1985—; curator of "Dance for a City: Fifty Years of the New York City Ballet," New York Historical Society, 1999, and "500 Years of Italian Dance: Treasures from the Cia Fornaroli Collection," New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, 2006; coordinator of dance seminars; guest on media programs, including Eye on Dance, WNYC-TV.


Society of Dance History Scholars, Dance Critics Association (copresident, 1987-88).


Fulbright fellow, 1968-69; fellow of Social Science Research Council, 1978-79; Getty fellow in the history of art and the humanities, 1986-87; De la Torre Bueno Prize, 1990, for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes; American Academy of Arts and Sciences membership, 2005.


Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1989.

(Editor, with Joan Acocella, and author of introduction) André Levinson on Dance: Writings from Paris in the Twenties, Wesleyan University Press (Middletown, CT), 1991.

(Editor) Rethinking the Sylph: New Perspectives on the Romantic Ballet, University Press of New England (Hanover, NH), 1997.

(Editor) José Limón: An Unfinished Memoir, University Press of New England (Hanover, NH), 1998.

(Editor, with Nancy Van Norman Baer) The Ballets Russes and Its World, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1999.

(With husband, Eric Foner) Dance for a City: Fifty Years of the New York City Ballet, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 1999.

Legacies of Twentieth-Century Dance, Wesleyan University Press (Middletown, CT), 2005.

Editor (with Vicente Garcia-Marquez) of the exhibition catalogue "España y los Ballets Russes," 1989; dance editor, Encyclopedia of New York City. Contributor to books, including Martin Scorsese: The First Decade, Redgrave (South Salem, NY), 1980; Lydia Lopokova, Weidenfeld & Nicolson (London, England), 1983; and New York, 1940-1965, Rizzoli International (New York, NY), 1988. Contributor of articles and reviews to periodicals, including Commonweal, Nation, Ballet Review, Dance Research Journal, Women's Review of Books, and Dance. Coeditor, Studies in Dance History; assistant editor, American National Biography.


Lynn Garafola's Diaghilev's Ballets Russes explores the economic, social, and artistic history of the avant-garde Russo-French ballet company Ballets Russes and the life of its producer, Serge Diaghilev. Founded in 1909, the Ballets Russes dominated the dance world for twenty years; under Diaghilev's direction its productions were renowned for innovative music, choreography, costumes, and set designs—elements that Diaghilev believed should share equal importance in a dance production. Washington Post Book World contributor Robert Craft remarked that throughout Garafola's book, "Diaghilev's intuitive genius and genius in artistic matchmaking, his depth of culture and manifold musical and theatrical talents are in evidence." The work of Diaghilev and Ballets Russes is remembered favorably, and Diaghilev's Ballets Russes received generally positive reviews. Garafola's research was noted by New York Times Book Review contributor Alastair Macauley as "awesomely thorough," and he described the book as "dense with new findings, connections, scrutiny." Writing in the New Republic, Richard Taruskin called the book "surely the most detached (and therefore the most valuable) account of [Diaghilev's] extraordinary career…. This is the first study of the impresario and his accomplishments to be informed by sophisticated historical methods, the first to meet professional historiographical standards." Some reviewers took exception to the frequent repetition and the lack of clear chronology in the text. Times Literary Supplement contributor Robert Orledge observed, however, that Diaghilev's Ballets Russes is, "a major contribution to dance scholarship which no one interested in the subject can afford to ignore." Craft praised the book as "skillfully written, critically perceptive and compendious," deeming it "the most comprehensive and intelligent book so far published about Diaghilev's Ballets Russes."

Garafola also edited, with Nancy Van Norman Baer, The Ballets Russes and Its World, a compendium of essays on the artistic impact of the company and its lasting implications for twentieth century art. According to Carolyn M. Mulac in Library Journal, Garafola and Van Norman Baer "have assembled a distinguished group of dance and music scholars and critics to assess the importance of the Ballets Russes." London's Sunday Times reviewer Colin McDowell wrote that the work is "not just another lightly written, highly illustrated superficial skim—the bane of art books at the end of the century—but something very much more substantial. This is a scholarly and broad-based assessment not only of Diaghilev's spectacular ballet company but also of the artistic and creative background that formed both him and it; a modern reappraisal of the figures who worked with him to make it so artistically triumphant and unassailable; and a measured examination of its continuing influence."

In 1999, Garafola and her husband, historian Eric Foner, published Dance for a City: Fifty Years of the New York City Ballet. The book was a companion volume to an exhibit mounted at the New York Historical Society to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the highly regarded dance company. The work's text includes six essays on the New York City Ballet and transcripts of interviews with its founder and principal choreographer, George Balanchine. Illustrations and rare photographs of staged works round out the volume. In Booklist, Michael Spinella suggested that Dance for a City "captures the beauty and reverie of the world of dance that ballet itself evokes. Garafola and Foner have compiled a lovely and interesting look at this amazing company and its lush history." New York Times Book Review correspondent Terry Teachout commented: "The pictures are so good that you may want to buy two copies of ‘Dance for a City,’ one for reading and the other for clipping and framing."



Booklist, August, 1999, Michael Spinella, review of Dance for a City: Fifty Years of the New York City Ballet, p. 2007.

Library Journal, September 15, 1999, Carolyn M. Mulac, review of The Ballets Russes and Its World, p. 84.

New Republic, October 9, 1989, Richard Taruskin, review of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, pp. 26-32.

New York Times Book Review, December 24, 1989, Alistair Macauley, review of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, p. 12; April 18, 1999, Francis Mason, "Struck by Lightning," p. 23; August 15, 1999, Terry Teachout, "What Balanchine Wrought."

Sunday Times (London, England), August 25, 1990, review of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes; January 2, 2000, Colin McDowell, "Setting the Pace for the Music of Time," pp. 40-41.

Times Literary Supplement, September 28, 1990, Robert Orledge, review of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, p. 1035.

Washington Post Book World, November 12, 1989, Robert Craft, review of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes pp. 6-7.


Columbia University Press Web site, (August 20, 2007), publisher's description of Dance for a City.