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Dance Across the USA    by Jonathan Givens order for
Dance Across the USA
by Jonathan Givens
Order:  USA  Can
Eps Pub, 2017 (2017)
* * *   Reviewed by John Williamson

Dance Across the USA will make a very fine addition on your coffee table. This extraordinary book - a true labor of love and a celebration of dance - was produced by photographer Johathan Givens. He made an epic 22,000 mile, 90 day road trip across 50 states (with quick flights to Hawaii and Alaska) in his Nissan van 'The Mighty Buford'. He stopped to photograph along the way, mostly at national parks, national monuments and a few iconic spots like Grand Central terminal in New York and the Washington monument in DC.

What makes this book and its hundreds of stunning images unique among the many excellent landscape coffee table books is that at each spot he teamed up with local dancers to photograph them at these dramatic locations. The very talented dancers, both professional and amateur, male and female, ranged in age from 5 to 61.

Jonathan did most of his photography at the golden hours of sunset and sunrise and many of the photos stand very well on their own as beautiful landscapes. But with the addition of the dance element, they transcend to another level. Givens captures the dancers doing the most amazing leaps and pirouettes. They often appear as angels soaring effortlessly through the heavens, or caught suspended mid-air as if time stood still.

When you look at many of the shots - such as Lydia at Bryce canyon or Jenna at Little River Falls - it is hard to believe that there was no photo manipulation of any kind taking place. But there was no photo-shopping needed. Such was the level of grace and athleticism of the dancers. It's also interesting that the photographer used social media to find all the dancers, and crowdfunding to raise the money ($40,000) to cover project expenses.

In summary, this excellent book is not just for dance lovers but for all who appreciate fine photography.

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