Joan Acocella has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1995. She served as the magazine’s dance critic from 1998 to 2019. She now writes mainly on books. Her own books include Mark Morris, a biographical/critical study of the choreographer; Willa Cather and the Politics of Criticism; and Creating Hysteria: Women and Multiple Personality Disorder. She co-edited André Levinson on Dance: Writings from Paris in the Twenties and edited The Diary of Vaslav Nijinsky, the first unexpurgated version in English. Her most recent book is Twenty-eight Artists and Two Saints, a collection of essays. Much of this writing was done at MacDowell. She is currently at work on a biography of Mikhail Baryshnikov.
Joan Acocella worked in the Sprague-Smith studio.
In January of 1976, the original Sprague-Smith Studio — built in 1915–1916 and funded by music students of Mrs. Charles Sprague-Smith of the Veltin School — was destroyed by fire. Redesigned by William Gnade, Sr., a Peterborough builder, the fieldstone structure was rebuilt the same year from the foundation up, reusing the original fieldstone. A few…