I Put a Spell on You

I Put a Spell on You

Dancing Women from Salome to Madonna


9780863567889 July 2003 Paperback 312pp 8 black and white photographs.

About the Book

Women with pizzazz. Dances that shock and enchant. With heroines like Josephine Baker and Isadora Duncan, this was never going to be a conventional history.

Buonaventura’s latest book is rich with fascinating anecdotes (like the New Jersey girl arrested for dancing the Turkey Trot on her lunch hour) and astonishing facts (the first geisha were men), as well as tender portrayals of dancers whose stage antics have earned them lasting fame.

Buonaventura heads to Argentina and the immigrants inventing tango in Buenos Aires; to Paris and the bawdy entertainers of the Moulin Rouge; to Chicago and New York, where struggling black Americans cakewalk, charleston and shimmy their long road from slavery. She returns to the Middle East, and the Arabic dance that led to her lifelong fascination with the dancing body.

On the way, she takes in Princess Diana, anorexia, transvestism and cosmetic surgery. This is a book for anyone intrigued by the sublime, sexy and downright surreal ways we find to strut our stuff.

About the Author

Wendy Buonaventura is author of the bestselling Serpent of the Nile. An established dancer and choreographer, her performance work was recently the subject of the television documentary Making Mimi. She has written and presented programmes for BBC Radio 4, and has performed and lectured extensively throughout Europe and the USA. Her website is www.buonaventura.com


'Dancing is sexy and subversive. If you can't get onto a dance floor, read Wendy Buonaventura's book, which is the next best thing.'
Joan Smith, author of Misogynies and Moralities

‘Engaging and informative and deliciously opinionated. The way we women are seen and see ourselves, the way we move and what moves us, our dances of devotion and seduction throughout history, all researched with passion and written about with flair. What fun! The most enjoyable dance lesson Wendy Buonaventura’s readers will ever have had.’
Irma Kurtz, author of The Great American Bus Journey and Then Again

‘Buonaventura’s theatrical flourish never deserts her. The breadth of her knowledge is apparent in every gem of an anecdote.’
Daily Telegraph