Irina Baronova and the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo

University of Chicago Press
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In the 1930s and ’40s, the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo toured the United States and the world, introducing many to ballet as an art form, while spreading the enduring image of the ballerina as an embodiment of feminine grace and sophistication. This sumptuous, illustrated history tells the story of the rise of modern ballet and its popularity through the life story of one of ballet’s most glamorous stars, Irina Baronova (1919–2008), prima ballerina for the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo and later for Ballet Theatre in New York.

Drawing on letters, correspondence, oral histories, and interviews, Baronova’s daughter, the actress Victoria Tennant, warmly recounts Baronova’s dramatic life, from her earliest aspirations to her grueling time on tour to her later years in Australia as a pioneer of the art. She begins with the Baronov family’s flight from Russia during the Revolution, which led them to Romania and later Paris, where at the age of thirteen, Baronova became a star, chosen by the legendary George Balanchine to join the Ballets Russes, where she danced the lead in Swan Lake. Tennant provides an intimate account of Baronova’s life as a dancer and rare behind-the-scenes stories of life on the road with the stars of the company. Spectacular photographs, a mix of archival images and family snapshots, offer many rare views of rehearsals, costumes, set designs, and the dancers themselves both at their most dazzling and in their most everyday.

The story of Irina Baronova is also the story of the rise of ballet in America thanks to the Ballets Russes, who brought the magisterial beauty and star power of dance to big cities and small towns alike. Irina Baronova and the Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo offers a unique perspective on this history, sure to be treasured by dance patrons and aspiring stars.
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About the author

Victoria Tennant played the title role in her first film, The Ragman’s Daughter, in 1972, and she has since then gone on to work in film, television, theater, and radio, receiving Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. She lives in Los Angeles.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Oct 15, 2014
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9780226186306
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Entertainment & Performing Arts
Biography & Autobiography / General
Performing Arts / Dance / Classical & Ballet
Photography / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The most comprehensive, beautiful book ever to be published on dance in America. "We look at the dance to impart the sensation of living in an affirmation of life, to energize the spectator into keener awareness of the vigor, the mystery, the humor, the variety, and the wonder of life. This is the function of the American dance." Groundbreaking choreographer Martha Graham deeply understood the power and complexity of dance--particularly as it evolved in her home country. American Dance, by critic and journalist Margaret Fuhrer, traces that richly complex evolution. From Native American dance rituals to dance in the digital age, American Dance explores centuries of innovation, individual genius and collaborative exploration. Some of its stories - such as Fred Astaire dancing on the ceiling or Alvin Ailey founding the trailblazing company that bears his name - will be familiar to anyone who loves dance. The complex origins of tap, for instance, or the Puritan outrage against "profane and promiscuous dancing" during the early years of the United States, are as full of mystery and humor as Graham describes. These various developments have never before been presented in a single book, making American Dance the most comprehensive work on the subject to date. Breakdancing, musical-theater dance, disco, ballet, jazz, ballroom, modern, hula, the Charleston, the Texas two-step, swing--these are just some of the forms celebrated in this riveting volume Hundreds of photographs accompany the text, making American Dance as visually captivating as the works it depicts.
"Miss Grant has made more information available in one book than we have ever had before. Teacher's organizations would do well to consider the use of Miss Grant's Technical Manual as an official textbook." — Dance Magazine
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.
Although the stars of Russian ballet Anna Pavlova and Tamara Karsavina possessed a national manner of dancing, there was no truly Russian school of dancing until the 1930s. The development of this school was largely due to Mme. Vaganova (1879–1951), not only a great dancer but also the teacher of Galina Ulanova and many others and an unsurpassed theoretician.
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.
118 illustrations.

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