In this instant New York Times bestseller, Misty Copeland makes history, telling the story of her journey to become the first African-American principal ballerina at the prestigious American Ballet Theatre. But when she first placed her hands on the barre at an after-school community center, no one expected the undersized, underprivileged, and anxious thirteen-year-old to become one of America’s most groundbreaking dancers . A true prodigy, she was attempting in months roles that take most dancers years to master. But when Misty became caught between the control and comfort she found in the world of ballet and the harsh realities of her own life, she had to choose to embrace both her identity and her dreams, and find the courage to be one of a kind.
With an insider’s passion, Misty opens a window into the life of an artist who lives life center stage, from behind the scenes at her first classes to her triumphant roles in some of the world’s most iconic ballets. A sensational memoir as “sensitive” and “clear-eyed” (The Washington Post) as her dancing, Life in Motion is a story of passion, identity and grace for anyone who has dared to dream of a different life.
Teacher recommended, Gail Grant's Technical Manual has long been one of the most popular and effective ballet reference guides. Completely revised and updated, this third edition is virtually a new work and should be owned by every student, dance teacher, choreographer, and ballet enthusiast — even those who purchased the second edition. Extensive revision, expansion, and the inclusion of more than 300 new terms have added immeasurably to the value of this concise, definitive manual.
Moving from "abstract ballet" and "adage, adagio" to "working leg" and "wrapped position," the book fully describes and defines over 1,100 ballet steps (saul de chat, jeté enveloppé, failli, entrechat six, etc.), movements and poses (arabesque, épaulement, attitude, en arrière, retiré, à terre, dégagé, etc.), and other expressions and concepts. For each, first a phonetic transcription is provided, then a literal translation, and finally an explanation of how the step is performed, the pose captured, or the movement executed, of how the concept fits in with actual ballet dancing, or of the purpose or function of the idea. A pronunciation guide, cross-references to alternate names for similar steps and positions that vary from the Russian to the French or Italian schools, and a bibliography are all invaluable aids.
But the most important supplement is the 15-page pictorial section, drawn by the author, who is both a successful ballet teacher and dancer. Keyed to the dictionary (and vice-versa), these diagrams show clearly the exact foot, leg, arm, and body positions for the proper execution of many of the more common ballet steps and movements. This essential and easy reference is a must for every teacher, aspiring dancer, and ballet class.
Voice acting is like acting, but just using your voice! It's a unique career where the actor's voice can be heard worldwide-in commercials, on audiobooks, in animated movies, documentaries, online videos, telephone systems and much, much more. The point is to bring the written word to life with the human voice.
With step-by-step explanations and an abundance of examples, Voice Acting For Dummies is the ultimate reference for budding voice actors on auditioning, recording, producing voice-overs, and promoting themselves as a voice actor.Creating a voice acting demo Finding your signature voice Interpreting scripts Using audio editing software Promoting your voice acting talents
If you're an aspiring voice actor or an actor or singer considering a career transition, Voice Acting For Dummies has everything you need to let your voice talents soar.
The principles of Vaganova's system are presented in this well-known book. Mme. Vaganova's aim of creating a personal approach to the Russian dance was based on the critical assimilation of the experience of her contemporaries. Her ability to choose the best of what had been accomplished in the various ballet traditions (French, Italian, and Russian) and combine these into a unified teaching practice in itself amounted to a new school of dance. She firmly believed that the teaching process should be a planned exercise, ever changing with innovations in the dance. She sought from her pupils emotional expressiveness, strictness of form, a resolute, energetic manner of performance, and the understanding of the underlying coordination of movements.
Her book discusses all basic principles of ballet, grouping movements by fundamental types. Chapters cover battements, rotary movements of the legs, the arms, poses of the classical dance, connecting and auxiliary movements, jumps, beats, point work, and turns as well as material for a sample lesson. Diagrams show clearly the exact foot, leg, arm, and body positions for the proper execution of many steps and movements. The result is a fundamental theory of dance that offers dancers, teachers, and ballet lovers information often difficult to locate in other books.
Sex, as much as dance, was a driving force for Nureyev. From his first secret liaison in Russia to his tempestuous relationship with the great Danish dancer Erik Bruhn, we see not only Nureyev’s notorious homosexual history unfold, but also learn of his profound effect on women--whether a Sixties wild child or Jackie Kennedy and Lee Radziwill or the aging Marlene Dietrich. Among the first victims of AIDS, Nureyev was diagnosed HIV positive in 1984 but defied the disease for nearly a decade, dancing, directing the Paris Opéra Ballet, choreographing, and even beginning a new career as a conductor. Still making plans for the future, Nureyev finally succumbed and died in January l993.
Drawing on previously undisclosed letters, diaries, home-movie footage, interviews with Nureyev’s inner circle, and her own dance background, Julie Kavanagh gives the most intimate, revealing, and dramatic picture we have ever had of this dazzling, complex figure.
NOTE: This edition does not include photos.
Swans of the Kremlin offers a fascinating glimpse at the collision of art and politics during the volatile first fifty years of the Soviet period. Ezrahi shows how the producers and performers of Russia’s two major troupes, the Mariinsky (later Kirov) and the Bolshoi, quietly but effectively resisted Soviet cultural hegemony during this period. Despite all controls put on them, they managed to maintain the classical forms and traditions of their rich artistic past and to further develop their art form. These aesthetic and professional standards proved to be the power behind the ballet’s worldwide appeal. The troupes soon became the showpiece of Soviet cultural achievement, as they captivated Western audiences during the Cold War period.
Based on her extensive research into official archives, and personal interviews with many of the artists and staff, Ezrahi presents the first-ever account of the inner workings of these famed ballet troupes during the Soviet era. She follows their struggles in the postrevolutionary period, their peak during the golden age of the 1950s and 1960s, and concludes with their monumental productions staged to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the revolution in 1968.
For more than four hundred years, the art of ballet has stood at the center of Western civilization. Its traditions serve as a record of our past. Lavishly illustrated and beautifully told, Apollo’s Angels—the first cultural history of ballet ever written—is a groundbreaking work. From ballet’s origins in the Renaissance and the codification of its basic steps and positions under France’s Louis XIV (himself an avid dancer), the art form wound its way through the courts of Europe, from Paris and Milan to Vienna and St. Petersburg. In the twentieth century, émigré dancers taught their art to a generation in the United States and in Western Europe, setting off a new and radical transformation of dance. Jennifer Homans, a historian, critic, and former professional ballerina, wields a knowledge of dance born of dedicated practice. Her admiration and love for the ballet, asEntertainment Weekly notes, brings “a dancer’s grace and sure-footed agility to the page.”
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW • LOS ANGELES TIMES • SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE • PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
Jenifer Ringer, a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, was thrust into the headlines after her weight was commented on by a New York Times critic, and her response ignited a public dialogue about dance and weight.
Ballet aficionados and aspiring performers of all ages will want to join Ringer behind the scenes as she shares her journey from student to star and candidly discusses both her struggle with an eating disorder and the media storm that erupted after the Times review. An unusually upbeat account of life on the stage, Dancing Through It is also a coming-of-age story and an inspiring memoir of faith and of triumph over the body issues that torment all too many women and men.
The first chapter defines and illustrates the basic theory of the positions, body movements, and technical terms. Detailed chapters of exercises include "Exercises at the Bar," "Port de Bras," "Centre Practice," "Adagio," and "Allegro." Each exercise appears with a numbered series of instructions, and a table of daily exercises for the week is provided. The text is accompanied by 109 line illustrations, showing positions and movements of the body in detail and offering ballet lovers a perfect guide to the basics of classical ballet.
She'd given up on love. He didn't have time for it. She thinks he's a stuck up pretty boy who doesn't care about anyone but himself, and he thinks she's a stuck up prude who wouldn't know how to "put out" if she tried. And yet...
Antonio Riverra AKA Tony Rivers comes from a lower class background, raised in the rough streets of gang-infested L.A. His only saving grace was his mother who was a dance teacher. However, Tony kept his knowledge of ballet a highly-guarded secret. He’s applied for early admission to a number of California performing arts colleges, but earned a scholarship to small but prestigious school, the San Oaho College of Visual and Performing Arts.
Allison (Allie) Holbrook is the rebellious daughter of a rich man. She doesn’t know her mother, as she was abandoned on her father’s doorstep when she was three. Since a paternity test confirmed she was his, Jefferson Holbrook took financial but not emotional responsibility for her. He had a nanny care for her until she was old enough to go to boarding school. She’s had the best of everything but good role models. Because her father controls everything about her life, and Jefferson believes the only thing a rich man’s daughter should do is marry a rich man’s son, he sends her off to the San Oaho College of Visual and Performing Arts while he finds her a husband.
Does love have limits? At what cost?
Out of nowhere, when Allie least expects it, Tony crashes into her life. Now, the stakes have never been higher.
This is steamy romance, NOT erotica.
Search Terms: Suspense romance, hot and steamy, dance, romantic suspense, romantic comedy, sports romance, new adult and college romance, sport romance, dark romance, contemporary romance
You don’t have to be a fan of the ballet to enjoy this captivating tale, available for the first time in ebook.
In 1931, Ninette de Valois started a ballet company with just six dancers. Within twenty years, The Royal Ballet - as it became - was established as one of the world's great companies. It has produced celebrated dancers, from Margot Fonteyn to Darcey Bussell, and one of the richest repertoires in ballet.
The company danced through the Blitz, won an international reputation in a single New York performance and added to the glamour of London's Swinging Sixties. It has established a distinctive English school of ballet, a pure classical style that could do justice to the 19th-century repertory and to new British classics.
Leading dance critic, Zo Anderson, vividly portrays the extraordinary personalities who created the company and the dancers who made such an impact on their audiences. She looks at the bad times as well as the good, examining the controversial directorships of Norman Morrice and Ross Stretton and the criticism fired at the company as the Royal Opera House closed for redevelopment.
Yet despite the scorn heaped on him, and his consequent obscurity, Minkus is far from being forgotten. Since the early 1960s his name has slowly begun to re-surface. Two works, Don Quixote (1869) and La Bayadère (1877), have been presented in their entirety for the first time to new audiences all over the world. The musical and dramatic power of both ballets has taken people by surprise. The stories have a very real human appeal, the choreography attracts the admiration of balletomanes, and the music, with its rhythm, verve, and beauty of melody, holds attention and engages the heart wherever it is heard.
This introduction seeks to discover something more behind the blank façade of Minkus’s life and work. What do we actually know about him as a man and as an artist? Are we able to apprehend his oeuvre as a whole, and how much can we establish from the available material? What is the nature of the music he created for those few works that have survived the years, and that have come to the fore again recently to delight those who have ears to hear?
This study includes iconography from the life and times of the composer, many musical examples from his works, and a comprehensive bibliography and discography.
Presenting a series of historical case studies, the book explores the ways in which, from the nineteenth century into the twentieth, ballet has been a means of conjuring homosexuality – of enabling some degree of expression and visibility for people who were otherwise declared illegal and obscene.
the perverse sororities of the Romantic ballet the fairy in folklore, literature, and ballet Tchaikovsky and the making of Swan Lake Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes and the emergence of queer modernity the formation of ballet in America the queer uses of the prima ballerina Genet’s writings for and about ballet.
Also including a consideration of how ballet’s queer tradition has been memorialized by such contemporary dance-makers as Neumeier, Bausch, Bourne, and Preljocaj, this is an essential book in the study of ballet and queer history.
Ballet Beyond Tradition seeks to reconcile these age-old conflicts and bring a new awareness to ballet teachers of the importance of a holistic training regimen that draws on the best that modern dance and movement-studies offers.
The extraordinary memoir of a peasant boy raised in rural Maoist China who was plucked from his village to study ballet and went on to become one of the greatest dancers of his generation.
From a desperately poor village in northeast China, at age eleven, Li Cunxin was chosen by Madame Mao's cultural delegates to be taken from his rural home and brought to Beijing, where he would study ballet. In 1979, the young dancer arrived in Texas as part of a cultural exchange, only to fall in love with America-and with an American woman. Two years later, through a series of events worthy of the most exciting cloak-and-dagger fiction, he defected to the United States, where he quickly became known as one of the greatest ballet dancers in the world. This is his story, told in his own inimitable voice.
THE BASIS FOR A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Using the stories of great dancers such as Anna Pavlova, Isadora Duncan, Suzanne Farrell, Gelsey Kirkland, and Evelyn Hart, Deirdre Kelly exposes the true rigors for women in ballet. She rounds her critique with examples of how the world of ballet is slowly evolving for the better. But to ensure that this most graceful of dance forms survives into the future, she says that the time has come to rethink ballet, to position the ballerina at its center and accord her the respect she deserves.
When Lauren Kessler was twelve, her ballet instructor crushed not just her dreams of being a ballerina but also her youthful self-assurance. Now, many decades and three children later, Kessler embarks on a journey to join a professional company to perform in The Nutcracker. Raising the Barre is more than just one woman's story; it is a story about shaking things up, taking risks and ignoring good sense, and forgetting how old you are and how you're "supposed" to act. It's about testing limits and raising the bar(re) on your own life.
From Richard Buckle, one of the all-time leading authorities on golden-era Russian dance, Nijinsky is an account of the rise and fall of perhaps the most iconic ballet performer of the twentieth century, Vaslav Nijinsky. Drawing on personal conversations with countless people who knew and worked with Nijinsky, including his sister and famed choreographer Bronislava Nijinska, Buckle’s intimate and astonishing portrait reveals a master whose reign was all too brief.
As a dancer, interpretive artist, and choreographic pioneer, Nijinsky reached unparalleled heights. His breathtaking performances with the Ballets Russes took Western Europe by storm, and his avant-garde choreography for The Afternoon of a Faun and The Rite of Spring, both now regarded as the foundation of modern dance, caused riots in the streets.
Through his liaison with the great impresario Sergei Diaghilev, Nijinsky worked with the artistic elite of the time—including Alexandre Benois, Léon Bakst, Claude Debussy, Mikhail Fokine, Tamara Karsavina, Anna Pavlova, and Igor Stravinsky—and lived in an atmosphere of perpetual glamour, hysteria, and intrigue. But when Njinsky married Hungarian aristocrat Romola de Pulszky, Diaghilev abruptly dismissed him from the Ballets Russes. Five years after the betrayal, Nijinsky was diagnosed with schizophrenia and declared insane, and the final curtain fell on the world’s most famous dancer.
This remarkable biography both celebrates Nijinsky’s profound genius and shadows his descent into the madness that is inextricably linked with his legendary reputation.
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For Gillian Lynne – a budding ballerina – it was also a time of great change as she was evacuated from war-torn London to a crumbling mansion, where dance classes took place in the faded ballroom.
Life was hard, but her talent and dedication shone through and an astonishing journey ensued, which saw Gillian dancing a triumphant debut in Swan Lake, performing in the West End with doodlebugs falling and touring a devastated Europe entertaining the troops.
A Dancer in Wartime paints a vivid and moving picture of what life was really like during the hard years of the Blitz and brings to life a lost world.
Some of the dancers struggle with eating disorders, injuries, and depression. Everyone's goal is a contract with a professional ballet company, and as graduation nears, the pressure intensifies. Although Anna goes to all the ballet companies' annual auditions, she receives not a single offer.
Falling for Tyler complicates things, but with the lead in the annual workshop performance, Anna gets one last chance to make her dreams come true.
Herein, sandwiched between wise and heartfelt literary offerings by life-long dedicated writers and practitioners of the Vedanta, living and passed, lie complementary writings on some of the most respected spiritual traditions of the world, all in Nectar-like fashion. And, as usual with Nectar of Nondual Truth, the underlying theme which connects all of these beings and their mature perspectives together is that of Universality. Just as the Formless Reality called Brahman makes up the unseen but pervasive substratum for all that lies in the diverse realm of name and form, so does the eternal tenet of Universality support and weave together all religious traditions. When recognition of this great truth dawns on the human mind, it is immediately free, on so many levels.
Through this vivid portrait of a dancer's every day, Deborah Bull reveals the arc of a dancer's life: from the seven-year-old's very first ballet class, through training, to company life, up through the ranks from corps de ballet to principal and then, not thirty years after it all began, to retirement and the inevitable sense of loss that comes with saying goodbye to your childhood dreams.
Pugni later followed Perrot to St Petersburg and became official composer of the Imperial Theatres in St Petersburg. His most famous collaboration, with Marius Petipa, now followed, which lasted until Pugni’s death. Some of his ballets already well-known in Europe were transferred to St Petersburg, although he also composed new ballets in Russia. Pugni is known above all for his enormous output of musical works, including more than 300 ballets, a dozen operas, over 40 masses, other polyphonic works, and a few symphonies, among which was a Sinfonia a canone, highly praised by Meyerbeer. This extremely prolific composer was very popular with the public, as all his ballets are easy to to listen to and to understand. He also found no diffculty in adapting his music to suit all sorts of choreographic needs, and many different performers.
Doch’ Faraona, or La Fille du Pharaon is a ballet in 3 acts and 9 scenes with prologue and epilogue. The scenario was devised by Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Marius Petipa, with choreography by Petipa. It was first performed on 30 January 1862, in St Petersburg at the Bolshoi Theatre. The principal dancers were Carolina Rosati, Nicholas Golts, Marius Petipa, and Lev Ivanov.
The ballet was inspired by Théophile Gautier’s Le Roman de la Momie, and narrates the adventures of the English Lord Wilson and his servant John Bull,who seek shelter from a storm in an Ancient Egyptian tomb. They smoke opium and in their dreams are taken back to the times of the characters buried there: Lord Wilson meets the Pharaoh’s daughter Aspicia during a lion hunt, helps her to escape from the invidious attentions of the King of Nubia, and undergoes various adventures with her in the Egyptian countryside (including a visit to the watery underworld of the King of the Nile where all the great rivers of the world are represented in national dance). He is eventually saved from sacrifice and united with her in marriage, before waking to the cold light of reality.
The ballet was a resounding success. The spectacle lasted over 4 hours and featured a cast of 400, 80 of them dancers. The spectacle was prepared in only 6 weeks for Carolina Rosati’s farewell performance. This success secured Marius Petipa’s appointment as maître de ballet (assistant ballet master) in St Petersburg. It marked the last of Rosati’s appearances in Russia, but thereafter tempted other great ballerinas, including Marie Petipa, Yekaterina Vazem, Virginia Zucchi, Mathilda Kschessinskaya and Anna Pavlova, each of them contributing her own interpretation of the heroine’s part.
Marius Ivanovich Petipa (1818 -1910) was a hugely influential French balletmaster, teacher and choreographer who became Premier Maître de Ballet of the St. Petersburg Imperial Theatres from 1871 until 1903. Petipa created over fifty ballets, some of which have survived in versions either faithful to, inspired by, or reconstructed from the original, including Pharaoh's Daughter (1862); Don Quixote (1869); La Bayadère (1877); Le Talisman (1889); and Sleeping Beauty (1890) among others. Petipa also revived a substantial number of works created by other ballet masters. His productions became the definitive versions from which nearly all subsequent revivals would be based — Le Corsaire, Giselle, Coppélia, La Fille mal gardée (with Lev Ivanov), The Little Humpbacked Horse and Swan Lake (with Lev Ivanov). There are various dances from Petipa's original works and revivals that have survived in an independent form in versions either based on the original or choreographed anew by others.
In 1987, a small, aspirant dance group with a striking name made its debut on the London fringe. In 1996, Adventures in Motion Pictures made history as the first modern dance company to open a production in London's West End. From this achievement, AMP sailed triumphantly to Broadway - winning three Tony Awards - guided by Artistic Director Matthew Bourne.
Even before the inception of AMP, Bourne was fascinated by theatre, by characterization, and by the history of dance. In his early works - Spitfire, Town & Country and Deadly Serious - Bourne brought a novel approach to dance. And in his reworkings of the classics of the ballet canon - Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Cinderella - Bourne created witty, vivid, poignant productions that received great acclaim.
In the first decade of the new millennium, the company name was changed to New Adventures, and Bourne's 'classics', as well as Bourne's new works - The Car Man, Play Without Words, Edward Scissorhands and Dorian Gray - achieved levels of box-office popularity that have seldom, if ever, been matched in dance. In addition, his choreography for various musicals - My Fair Lady, Mary Poppins and Oliver! - have run for years in the West End and on Broadway.
The detail in which Bourne discusses his work with Alastair Macaulay is unprecedented. The two explore Bourne's upbringing, his training and influences, and his distinctive creative methods. Bourne's notebooks, his sources and his collaboration with dancers all form part of the discussion in this book.
Presents the significant philosophical issues concerning the performing arts in an accessible style, assuming no prior knowledge
Provides a critical overview and a comprehensive framework for thinking about the performing arts
Examines the assumption that classical music provides the best model for thinking about artistic performance across the performing arts
Explores ways in which the ‘classical paradigm’ might be extended to other musical genres, to theatre, and to dance
Applies the thinking on performing arts to the issue of ‘performance art’
Dance and theatre roots and connections;
Bausch’s developmental process;
The creation of Tanztheater;
Interviews, reviews and major essays chart the evolution of Bausch’s pioneering approach and explore this evocative new mode of performance. Edited by noted Bausch scholar, Royd Climenhaga, The Pina Bausch Sourcebook aims to open up Bausch’s performative world for students, scholars, dance and theatre artists and audiences everywhere.
But Jesse is the least of Indigo’s concerns. When she discovers her mom is an alcoholic, it simultaneously explains everything and heaps more worry on Indigo’s shoulders. As her mom’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic, Indigo fights to maintain balance, protect her younger brothers from abuse, and keep her mother from going over the edge. When the violence at home escalates, Indigo realizes she can no longer dance around the issue. At the risk of losing everything, she must take matters into her own hands before it’s too late.
Ballet For Dummies is for anyone who wants to enjoy all that the dance forms offers – as an onlooker who wants to get a leg up on the forms you're likely to see or as an exercise enthusiast who understands that the practice of ballet can help you gainMore strength Greater flexibility Better body alignment Confidence in movement Comfort through stress reduction Infinite grace – for life
From covering the basics of classical ballet to sharing safe and sensible ways to try your hand (and toes) at moving through the actual dance steps, this expert reference shows you how toBuild your appreciation for ballet from the ground up. Choose the best practice space and equipment. Warm up to your leap into the movements. Locate musical options for each exercise. Look for certain lifts in a stage performance. Tell a story with gestures. Picture a day in the life of a professional ballet dancer. Identify best-loved classic and contemporary ballets. Speak the language of ballet.
Today you can find a ballet company in almost every major city on earth. Many companies have their own ballet schools – some for training future professionals, and others for interested amateurs. As you fine-tune your classical ballet technique – or even if you just like to read about it – you'll become better equipped to fully appreciate the great choreography and many styles of the dance. Ballet For Dummies raises the curtain on a world of beauty, grace, poise, and possibility!
This book is open access under a CC BY license.
Pia Soto is the sexy and glamorous prima ballerina, the Brazilian bombshell who's shaking up the ballet world with her outrageous behaviour. She's wild and precocious, and she's a survivor. She's determined that no man will ever control her destiny. But ruthless financier Will Silk has Pia in his sights, and has other ideas . . .
Sophie O'Farrell is Pia's hapless, gawky assistant, the girl-next-door to Pia's Prima Donna, always either falling in love with the wrong man or just falling over. Sophie sets her own dreams aside to pick up the debris in Pia's wake, but she's no angel. When a devastating accident threatens to cut short Pia's illustrious career, Sophie has to step out of the shadows and face up to the demons in her own life.
Prima Donna is an excitingly glamorous novel from Karen Swan, author of the bestselling Christmas at Tiffany's.
George Balanchine chronicles the life and achievements of this visionary artist from his early, almost accidental career in Russia, where his lifelong collaboration with Igor Stravinsky was forged, to his extraordinary accomplishments in America. The editor and writer Robert Gottlieb, one of the most knowledgeable dance critics in America, offers a superb and loving portrait of a genius who, though married many times to many ballerinas, remained truest to his greatest love, Terpischore, the Greek Muse of dance.
When eighteen-year-old dancer Anna Linado began her professional ballet career with the prestigious Los Angeles Ballet Theatre, she thought all of her dreams had come true. Company life offered glamorous colleagues, exhilarating performances, and the chance to become a prima ballerina. Then she finds an older dancer's diary hidden in her theater case, and the contents unravel her preconceptions about life in the company. Just as Anna reaches the cusp of stardom and the beginning of a promising love affair, the realities of the ballet world will change her life forever.
Praise for GIRL IN MOTION by Miriam Wenger-Landis
"Offers an inside view of professional dance training." -THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
"A novel about the ups and downs of life in a ballet boarding school. I snapped it up right away, and soon discovered I couldn't put it down." -Amanda Brice, author of CODENAME: DANCER
"If you want to know what it feels like to be a dancer in vocational training (from a fictional perspective) then give this one a whirl." -BalletNews.co.uk
On a freezing night in January 2013, a hooded assailant hurled acid in the face of the artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet. The crime, organized by a lead soloist, dragged one of Russia’s most illustrious institutions into scandal. The Bolshoi Theater had been a crown jewel during the reign of the tsars and an emblem of Soviet power throughout the twentieth century. Under Putin in the twenty-first century, it has been called on to preserve a priceless artistic legacy and mirror Russia’s neo-imperial ambitions. The attack and its torrid aftermath underscored the importance of the Bolshoi to the art of ballet, to Russia, and to the world.
The acid attack resonated far beyond the world of ballet, both into Russia’s political infrastructure and, as renowned musicologist Simon Morrison shows in his tour-de-force account, the very core of the Bolshoi’s unparalleled history. With exclusive access to state archives and private sources, Morrison sweeps us through the history of the storied ballet, describing the careers of those onstage as well as off, tracing the political ties that bind the institution to the varying Russian regimes, and detailing the birth of some of the best-loved ballets in the repertoire.
From its disreputable beginnings in 1776 at the hand of a Faustian charlatan, the Bolshoi became a point of pride for the tsarist empire after the defeat of Napoleon in 1812. After the revolution, Moscow was transformed from a merchant town to a global capital, its theater becoming a key site of power. Meetings of the Communist Party were hosted at the Bolshoi, and the Soviet Union was signed into existence on its stage. During the Soviet years, artists struggled with corrosive censorship, while ballet joined chess tournaments and space exploration as points of national pride and Cold War contest. Recently, a $680 million restoration has restored the Bolshoi to its former glory, even as prized talent has departed.
As Morrison reveals in lush and insightful prose, the theater has been bombed, rigged with explosives, and reinforced with cement. Its dancers have suffered unimaginable physical torment to climb the ranks, sometimes for so little money that they kept cows at home whose milk they could sell for food. But the Bolshoi has transcended its own fraught history, surviving 250 years of artistic and political upheaval to define not only Russian culture but also ballet itself. In this sweeping, definitive account, Morrison demonstrates once and for all that, as Russia goes, so goes the Bolshoi Ballet.
Smith begins by showing how gestures were encoded in the musical language that composers used in ballet and in opera. She moves on to a wide range of topics, including the relationship between the gestures of the singers and the movements of the dancers, and the distinction between dance that represents dancing (entertainment staged within the story of the opera) and dance that represents action. Smith maintains that ballet-pantomime and opera continued to rely on each other well into the nineteenth century, even as they thrived independently. The "divorce" between the two arts occurred little by little, and may be traced through unlikely sources: controversies in the press about the changing nature of ballet-pantomime music, shifting ideas about originality, complaints about the ridiculousness of pantomime, and a little-known rehearsal score for Giselle.
As a student and young dancer with the Kirov, she witnessed the company's achievements as a citadel of classic ballet, home to legendary names--Shelest, Nureyev, Dudinskaya, Baryshnikov--but also a hotbed of intrigue and ambition run amok. As ballet mistress of American Ballet Theatre from 1978 to 1990, Elena was called "the most important behind-the-scenes force for change in ballet today," by Vogue magazine. She coached stars and corps de ballet alike, and helped mold the careers of some of the great dancers of the age, including Gelsey Kirkland, Cynthia Gregory, Natalia Makarova, and Alexander Godunov. Dancing on Water is a tour de force, exploring the highest levels of the world of dance.
Fisher traces The Nutcracker’s history from its St. Petersburg premiere in 1892 through its emigration to North America in the mid-twentieth century to the many productions of recent years. She notes that after it was choreographed by another Russian immigrant to the New World, George Balanchine, the ballet began to thrive and variegate: Hawaiians added hula, Canadians added hockey, Mark Morris set it in the swinging sixties, and Donald Byrd placed it in Harlem. The dance world underestimates The Nutcracker at its peril, Fisher suggests, because the ballet is one of its most powerfully resonant traditions. After starting life as a Russian ballet based on a German tale about a little girl’s imagination, The Nutcracker has become a way for Americans to tell a story about their communal values and themselves.