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Publisher's Summary

A fascinating exploration of an ancient system of beliefs and its links to the evolution of dance.

From southern Greece to northern Russia, people have long believed in female spirits, bringers of fertility, who spend their nights and days dancing in the fields and forests. So appealing were these spirit-maidens that they also took up residence in 19th-century Romantic literature. Archaeologist and linguist by profession, folk dancer by avocation, Elizabeth Wayland Barber has sleuthed through ethnographic lore and archaeological reports of east and southeast Europe, translating enchanting folktales about these "dancing goddesses" as well as eyewitness accounts of traditional rituals - texts that offer new perspectives on dance in agrarian society. She then traces these goddesses and their dances back through the Romans and Greeks to the first farmers of Europe. Along the way, she locates the origins of many customs, including coloring Easter eggs and throwing rice at the bride. The result is a detective story like no other and a joyful reminder of the human need to dance.

©2013 Elizabeth Wayland Barber (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What members say

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Great book But...

Terrible narrator. Robotic and monotonous voice. Very unfortunate but the contents of the talking book made up for it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Difficult

What disappointed you about The Dancing Goddesses?

Barber is one of my favorite authors writing about myth, history and anthropology. But the narration is very very difficult to listen to. As much as I am fascinated by the content, I've tried to get through this and the narration just is too distracting.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Cross-cultural comparisons

What didn’t you like about Julia Farhat’s performance?

Read without expression. It is easier to listen to "text-to-speech" than this.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Very disappointed. I'd planned to make a quilt while listening to this and will have to find a different title.

Any additional comments?

Please have someone else record Barber's book "Women's Work"

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Great book! Robotic reader

the woman reading this sounds like a robot. If you can get past that, you'll enjoy a fabulous book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Love this author's research and perspectives

Would you consider the audio edition of The Dancing Goddesses to be better than the print version?

When I don't have time to read print, I always hope there is an audible version of the book. I never dreamed there would be an audio version of one of my favorite authors who works in the fields of culture and anthropology, but I checked, and I found this one!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Elizabeth Wayland Barber's perspectives and research are always fascinating and academically-sound. I found the section on calendars to be most intriguing.

Which character – as performed by Julia Farhat – was your favorite?

The narrator has a great voice. At times, the intonations seem to fall into a distracting and repetitive pattern that can detract from the content (for me), but on the whole, I liked the narration.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Each "page" provides wonderful new subjects and relevant contexts. She brings history and culture to life.

Any additional comments?

I hope Audible continues making books like this available to those of us who are busy researching our studies and don't always have enough time to sit down and read. I've searched online for more audio book versions of equally interesting academically-sound works, and they seem to be hard to come by even though they must be in demand.