Faculty & Staff Profiles

Beth Genné

Professor of Dance

Beth Genné is a historian of dance and of art, with a PhD in the History of Art and postdoctoral study in the History of Dance. Her specialties are twentieth-century ballet in America and Europe, and dance in the American musical film. She focuses, in her work, on the synergy of music, art, and dance and on the historical context of the works she studies. She holds a joint appointment in the Arts and Ideas Concentration of the Residential College in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. Her next book, to be published by Oxford University Press, is a study of the contributions of Fred Astaire, George Balanchine, and Gene Kelly to American musical film. Prior to coming to the University of Michigan, she taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Genné is the author of the book The Making of a Choreographer: Ninette de Valois and Bar aux Folies-Bergère, and of chapters on film dance in the anthologies The Living Dance, Re-Thinking Dance History, Teaching Dance Studies, Re-envisioning Dance on Film and Video, Following Sir Fred’s Steps: Ashton’s Legacy and Vincente Minnelli: The Art of Entertainment. Her scholarly articles have appeared in British and American journals such as Discourses in Dance, Dance Chronicle, Dance Research and the Art Journal. She has written extensive criticism and feature articles for the Dancing Times of London, and she wrote the long articles on British theatrical dance since 1850 and on Ninette De Valois in the International Encyclopedia of Dance.

Dr. Genné was a keynote speaker at the first Fred Astaire conference held at Oxford University, a Robert Trotter Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Oregon, and a J. Paul Getty Postdoctoral Fellow in the History of Art. She was a principal researcher for the George Balanchine Foundation’s project “Popular Balanchine,” for which she directed research on Balanchine’s work in Hollywood. She has presented papers at numerous conferences, and gave the invited address at a special meeting of the British Society for Dance Research held in honor of Dame Ninette de Valois’ 90th Birthday at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. She instigated, helped organize, and spoke at the University of Michigan symposium “From the Mariinsky to Manhattan: George Balanchine and the Transformation of American Dance,” and subsequently was one of five American scholars to address the symposium “Balanchine Past, Present and Future” at the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia, sponsored by the Mariinsky Theatre and the George Balanchine Foundation.

At the University of Michigan, she has served on the Executive Committee of the Center for Russian and East European Studies, on the Steering Committee of the Center for World Performance Studies and on the President’s Undergraduate Commission. She has been a member of the Editorial Board for the Society of Dance History Scholars’ Studies in Dance History book series.

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