Phaedra392

Arlene Croce on Balanchine

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Hello -- I'm delurking to announce that I finally managed to get Farrar Strauss & Giroux to answer my question about Arlene Croce's long-awaited book on Balanchine's ballets. That's the good news. The bad news is that it has been delayed -- again -- and is now scheduled to be published in February 2007. That's right, 2007. I have been waiting for years for this book, and I know many of you out there have been waiting too. Who knows if this latest date will actually pan out, but here's hoping. I don't know how I'm going to wait another year. :D

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This is akin to new clues turning up in the disappearance of Judge Crater, or a progress report on Second Avenue Subway construction. I don't mean to deride your post, Phaedra392, and I congratulate you for keeping after the publisher to provide a date, however fanciful. I admit that a little flicker of hope has arisen in me on reading this that publication might yet occur during my lifetime. So thank you.

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Thank you for the update on "THE BOOK," as several of us have named this project. I'm still maintaining an open-spot for it on my shelf.

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That thread was started in 2003, with an update in June 2004. We've been waiting for this book for a very long time.

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  The bad news is that it has been delayed -- again -- and is now scheduled to be published in February 2007.

Well, that stinks. :dunno:

I'm wishing for a support group somewhere for those of us frustrated and impatient for this book.

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Stinks? That implies that somebody's doing something wrong deliberately. I like to make jokes about it, but I don't think that. I just assume the many delays have been caused by a quest for getting it done right. I think it's admirable that Farrar Strauss & Giroux continues to have the book on its publishing list after all this time.

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Stinks? That implies that somebody's doing something wrong deliberately. I like to make jokes about it, but I don't think that. I just assume the many delays have been caused by a quest for getting it done right. I think it's admirable that Farrar Strauss & Giroux continues to have the book on its publishing list after all this time.

Actually that wasn't my intention at all, sorry if you got that impression. I'm not implying that the delays are ANYONE'S fault, just that for me the delays stink on a purely personal level as I am so anxious to read this book by my favorite dance critic on by favorite choreographer. Simple as that. :dunno:

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I hope this book comes out at all, because it sure would be an improvement over the Bernard Taper biography. The Taper biography is long but IMO contains very little substance and very little idea of who Mr. B was. It was also extremely hagiographical. I mean, Mr. B had many admirable qualities, but he also did some very unpleasant things (for example, driving Suzanne Farrell to the point of contemplating suicide, leaving Tanny LeClercq in a quickie Mexican divorce, his rudeness to Erik Bruhn). I'm assuming the Croce biography will be much more balanced.

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But is it a biography, and would a biography from Arlene Croce be that interesting? And sometimes biographies take decades longer than projected as more and more material presents itself. Maybe she is structuring it ballet by ballet, or genre of ballet by ballet? (The working title at somepoint--reported in another thread--was Ballet and Balanchine.) Croce has always comfortably written with the upper crusty tone of a New Yorker writer, and now she has to recast all her thinking on Balanchine into a different form. So it's a rather formidable task.

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Croce's book is supposed to be about Balanchine's ballets, so unless one believes that Balanchine's life is all in the ballets, it won't really be a biography. Nevertheless, one hopes for more insight into Balanchine's life than was evident in Taper's biography, which, incidentally, began life circa 1960 as a New Yorker profile and was subsequently "revised and expanded," as they say.

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I believe the book is her analysis of the ballets. I least I hope it is. In her New Yorker articles back when she was there, she would sometimes take a Balanchine ballet like Jewels and devote the whole article to it. Filtering it through that remarkable brain and putting it to paper. If she can do that with the whole Balanchine catalog it would be like literary manna from heaven for me. Well worth the wait. (And I need to learn more patience.)

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I'm not sure if we will see a definitive Balanchine biography any time soon. And many crucial witnesses are already gone, alas.

Obviously it's impossible to know what's delaying Croce's book. Quiggin is correct to point out that a full length book -- which I don't think Croce has ever written, apart from the short book on Astaire and Rogers from many years ago -- is a significant undertaking. Let's hope all is well.

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This is veering OT, but am I the only one who gets a real sense of frustration when reading the Taper book? Because I always think, this *could* have been a very good biography. But it seems like he just chooses to whitewash, or brush-off, things that were documented in very vivid detail in other memoirs related to Balanchine. For instance, I learned much more about Mr. B reading Tallchief's, Farrell's, and Kent's autobiographies than I learned from the Taper biography. It's like he made a conscious choice to simply skim the surface of a man who had a lot of depth. There are some good stories, some basic info, but I think that the Taper book is basically long in pages and short in substance.

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I kinda like the Taper book, too. It's not the Ultimate Balanchine Book, but it doesn't really aspire to be. It grew out of a profile for The New Yorker and of course that shows.

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Balanchine is very under-represented in the book world -- when you consider the vast number of pages devoted to the careers of dancers and other figures of less lasting importance.

Perhaps you had to be there, especially in the 50s - 70s, to appreciate just how central this man's creativity was to higher culture and the arts, and not just to ballet.

Any book about Balanchine (life OR works) -- assuming it is honest, accurate, true to its subject, and well-researched -- can't be anything but a blessing.

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I like the Taper book so much I have three copies of it -- Harper & Row's first edition from 1963; Macmillan's "Revised and Updated" edition from 1974; and the Times Books edition of 1984, the year after Balanchine's death. Nevertheless, I understand canbelto's frustration very well. As dirac suggests, this is not the definitive biography the subject deserves, nor was it meant to be. But surely, this can't be the last word. We know that all his wives and mistresses remained friends with him after they became former wives and mistresses, and that he liked to compare himself to Mayakovsky, "I am not a man, but a cloud in pants." What's needed is a biography as towering creatively and psychologically complex as Balanchine himself. Perhaps it will be the work of another generation.

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We know that all his wives and mistresses remained friends with him after they became former wives and mistresses.

Which always struck me as an odd circumstance. (It struck Moira Shearer, too, as indicated in her own Balanchine book, the brief “Balletmaster.”) I have my theories.

Balanchine is very under-represented in the book world -- when you consider the vast number of pages devoted to the careers of dancers and other figures of less lasting importance.

Very true, bart. Balanchine is often mentioned with Stravinsky and Picasso as a great 20th century innovator, but you wouldn't necessarily guess that by comparing book titles. I think, however, that dance figures in general, including dancers, are underrepresented.

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I e-mailed an inquiry to the publisher regarding the release date of this book and was told it has now been pushed back to January 2008. :(

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And what happened finally with it? I cannot find it...

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And what happened finally with it? I cannot find it...

Some of the editorial members of BT might want to invest time in discovering what happened to this given the prominence of subject and writer.

Speaking of Mr. B, I emailed the Trust to see whether they plan on having the two videos of Balanchine in Celebration turned into DVD's.

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Some of the editorial members of BT might want to invest time in discovering what happened to this given the prominence of subject and writer.
I recently tried to learn from the publisher's site whether they'd named a new pub date. Nada. I did not send an inquiry, but anyone so motivated could.

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Some of the editorial members of BT might want to invest time in discovering what happened to this given the prominence of subject and writer.
I recently tried to learn from the publisher's site whether they'd named a new pub date. Nada. I did not send an inquiry, but anyone so motivated could.

Carbro, I just found "Ballet and Balanchine" by Arlene Croce being offered for sale at $50 on two Australian websites--www.chaos.com and www.holisticpage.com.au. Pub date is listed on both sites as March 15, 2008. But I could find it nowhere else...

This sounds bizarre, especially because no publisher is listed on either site for the book. What are they offering for sale?

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I always forget about this book until this thread is revived.

I think all of my anxiety is focused on Robert Caro's progress on the volume about Lyndon Johnson's presidency.

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