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Dance Book?


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#1 hesterlover1

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Posted 20 August 2001 - 11:21 AM

Hi! I recently saw a book called 'White Swan, Black Swan'. I think it was a fiction book about the lives of many different dancers. I was wondering if anyone knows if this is a good book, and where to find it. Thank you! :D

#2 dirac

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Posted 20 August 2001 - 12:40 PM

A couple of reviews were posted on our Links board -- they were not too enthusiastic. I've seen the book in stores and it's also available via Amazon and other online booksellers. Unfortunately, the author's name has slipped my mind.

#3 Nora

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Posted 20 August 2001 - 08:38 PM

Katie -- I read the book. It is structured as a series of loosely related short stories in which the author treats some real, some fictional subjects in dance. In the case of the real people, she imagines their thoughts during important moments and relationships. Being a person who enjoys reading biographies of dancers, I recognized a great many of the events and conflicts that the author based her imaginings on. My feeling is that you would be better served in going to the library and checking out biographies and autobiographies of dancers. The book was a superficial summer read, full of a lot of empty calories. Why not get the real meat and potatoes?

#4 Dale

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Posted 21 August 2001 - 02:11 AM

I read this book as well. It reads like bad fan fiction. First, I can "see" the research in the stories -- here Dance Magazine, there the book Ballerina (which we're discussing elsewhere on the board) etc... I'm not saying she plagiarized, but it does read rather clumsily if you had read the source material she used.

In addition, the author is just wrong in many cases. I think the Washington Post review pointed out that she refers to Nilas Martins as "tall and elegant," which is not really true. While "elegant" is somewhat subjective, the author has him performing Bugaku, which I don't think he ever has and probably won't. There are other instances of misinformation as well. Add in her purple prose and it's a strange book.

#5 hesterlover1

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Posted 23 August 2001 - 10:54 AM

Thank you for the reviews! I guess it sounds like the kind of book to get from the library when I have the time, but not one to buy. Thanks again! :D

#6 Alina

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Posted 23 August 2001 - 08:41 PM

I am in the process of reading this book. I am not highly motivated to finish it essentially labeling as ballet soap opera. It has not turned out to be a page turner! I have had a very hard time with the author placing actual people into fictional situations. I found the chapter on Balanchine and Suzanne Farrell quite offensive. In spite of what one might have imagined could have taken place, if you have a true reverence for the art and these artists contribution it seems out of place and disrespeptful to superimpose such a negative take on it. It really bothered me!!!!

#7 Juliet

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Posted 23 August 2001 - 08:54 PM

Books are not like the Clean Plate Club: you don't have to finish them!

If it is banal, go on to a good dance history or bigraphy--there are plenty out there which are just as spicy, scholarly, funny, or whatever your current taste happens to be.

Life is too short to read bad books.


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