The Dancing Goddesses

  • by Elizabeth Wayland Barber
  • Narrated by Julia Farhat
  • 11 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Great book But...

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


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"

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- Katherine C. Long

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-21-2013
  • Publisher: Audible Studios