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Here is the first dual biography of the early lives of two key figures in Russian ballet: famed choreographer George Balanchine and his close childhood friend and extraordinary ballerina Liidia (Lidochka) Ivanova. Tracing the lives and friendship of these two dancers from years just before the 1917 Russian Revolution to Balanchine's escape from Russia in 1924, Elizabeth Kendall's Balanchine & the Lost Muse sheds new light on a crucial flash point in the history of ballet. Drawing upon extensive archival research, Kendall weaves a fascinating tale about this decisive period in the life of the man who would become the most influential choreographer in modern ballet. Abandoned by his mother at the St. Petersburg Imperial Ballet Academy in 1913 at the age of nine, Balanchine spent his formative years studying dance in Russia's tumultuous capital city. It was there, as he struggled to support himself while studying and performing, that Balanchine met Ivanova. A talented and bold dancer who grew close to the Bolshevik elite in her adolescent years, Ivanova was a source of great inspiration to Balanchine--both during their youth together, and later in his life, after her mysterious death just days before they had planned to leave Russia together in 1924. Kendall shows that although Balanchine would have a great number of muses, many of them lovers, the dark beauty of his dear friend Lidochka would inspire much of his work for years to come. Part biography and part cultural history, Balanchine & the Lost Muse presents a sweeping account of the heyday of modern ballet and the culture behind the unmoored ideals, futuristic visions, and human decadence that characterized the Russian Revolution.
In this beautifully crafted book, Elizabeth Kendall tells the story of a family, of a passionate attachment between a mother and a daughter and the sudden tragedy that tears it apart. American Daughter is also a brilliant portrait of wellborn women's lives in cities and towns in the post-World War II era, as Kendall evokes how difficult it was to become anything other than an American daughter, which meant being a dependent woman.  
        
Occupying a coveted place in St. Louis's privileged high society, Henry and Betty Kendall seemed to be the American dream come true: six children, a sprawling house, a legacy of higher education at Harvard and Vassar. Yet underneath lay the flawed marriage of an idealistic young woman who made her eldest daughter her best friend and turned civil rights into her salvation. Elizabeth maintained the family silence as eccentricities began to appear in her father's behavior, along with whispers of financial difficulties. She accompanied her mother back to Vassar for a summer program on the home and family, then came into her own, away from her family, at the haven of a girls' summer camp and at Radcliffe. From the war-torn 1940s, when young men in uniform, home on leave, went to debutante parties, through the seismic social changes of the 1960s, Kendall tells the intertwined story of her mother and herself, of their powerful bond and how both shaped their lives in response to it.
    
Unrelentingly honest, rich with humor and insights into families and women's lives, American Daughter is both a poignant portrait of American life at the middle of the twentieth century, and a dual coming-of-age story of a mother and a daughter, united by commitment and love, separated by a fatal accident-and by the vastly different birthrights of their generations.
Here is the first dual biography of the early lives of two key figures in Russian ballet: famed choreographer George Balanchine and his close childhood friend and extraordinary ballerina Liidia (Lidochka) Ivanova. Tracing the lives and friendship of these two dancers from years just before the 1917 Russian Revolution to Balanchine's escape from Russia in 1924, Elizabeth Kendall's Balanchine & the Lost Muse sheds new light on a crucial flash point in the history of ballet. Drawing upon extensive archival research, Kendall weaves a fascinating tale about this decisive period in the life of the man who would become the most influential choreographer in modern ballet. Abandoned by his mother at the St. Petersburg Imperial Ballet Academy in 1913 at the age of nine, Balanchine spent his formative years studying dance in Russia's tumultuous capital city. It was there, as he struggled to support himself while studying and performing, that Balanchine met Ivanova. A talented and bold dancer who grew close to the Bolshevik elite in her adolescent years, Ivanova was a source of great inspiration to Balanchine--both during their youth together, and later in his life, after her mysterious death just days before they had planned to leave Russia together in 1924. Kendall shows that although Balanchine would have a great number of muses, many of them lovers, the dark beauty of his dear friend Lidochka would inspire much of his work for years to come. Part biography and part cultural history, Balanchine & the Lost Muse presents a sweeping account of the heyday of modern ballet and the culture behind the unmoored ideals, futuristic visions, and human decadence that characterized the Russian Revolution.
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