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a book about Olga Spessitseva?


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11 replies to this topic

#1 silvy

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 06:59 AM

Does anyone know if there is any biography of Olga Spessisteva? I have run a search at amazon.com,but could not find anything

Also I would welcome any suggestion as to where to look for information regarding her, as she seems to be a most intriguing personality to me.

#2 FauxPas

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 07:24 AM

Does anyone know if there is any biography of Olga Spessisteva? I have run a search at amazon.com,but could not find anything

Also I would welcome any suggestion as to where to look for information regarding her, as she seems to be a most intriguing personality to me.

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There was a biography of her, quite subjective and personal and mostly dealing with her Western career and its tragic end, by Anton Dolin called "The Sleeping Ballerina". It is likely out of print but might be found through second hand dealers and Amazon. There is also a long chapter on her in Gennady Smakov's "The Great Russian Dancers". These are all in English.

#3 rg

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 07:44 AM

not much to add to the info above except the full particulars of the dolin book, as the previous post already notes, long out of print. still it might be around from secondhand sellers:

Olga Spessivtzeva: The sleeping ballerina. With a foreword by Dame Marie Rambert. London, Dance Books [c1974]
xv, 130 p. illus. (incl. ports.), facsim. 22 cm.
Notes :"Unabridged republication of the edition first published in 1966 by Frederick Muller Ltd."

the recent book on vera volkova by alexander meinertz, currently in danish but being prepared for publication in english, includes some passages about spesivtseva in 1920s russia, as she connected to the lives of volkova and the critic and art historian, akim volynski, but i don't know an official pub. date at this time.

#4 FauxPas

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 08:26 AM

There was also a book by Serge Lifar (who could dish with the best of them) called "The Three Graces: Anna Pavlova, Tamara Karsavina, Olga Spessivtzeva: the legends and the truth" published by Cassell (London) in 1959. I have never heard of this book and am quite interested in what Mr. Lifar has to say - he danced with the last two ladies I believe and has some first hand information.

It seems that Spessivtzeva herself wrote a book called "Technique for the Ballet Artiste" published by London Muller in 1967. This would interest you too, Silvy.

#5 jorgen

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 08:40 AM

There is also a Olga Spezzivtzeva biography by Andre Schaikevitch from 1954. In French and very hard to get.

#6 richard53dog

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 08:48 AM

Silvy,

Just a hint. I have no financial conection with either of these outfits but two dealers that have lots and lots of used books are alibris.com and abebooks.com.

Abe has copies of some of those mentioned above.
It also never hurts to check Amazon (just go through the portal above), they have a surprising amount of out of print books.

Good luck!

Richard

#7 ViolinConcerto

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 11:15 AM

"The Sleeping Ballerina" is VERY hard to find. One friend has a copy and was good enough to xerox it for me. Much of it deals with her years in a mental institution upstate New York. Dolin sprung her from that, bless him.

#8 richard53dog

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 11:21 AM

"The Sleeping Ballerina" is VERY hard to find.  One friend has a copy and was good enough to xerox it for me.  Much of it deals with her years in a mental institution upstate New York.  Dolin sprung her from that, bless him.

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As I noted earlier, Abe Books has several of these books. On The Sleeping Ballerina they have 6 copies. They run $20 - $60

Richard

#9 rg

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 07:09 PM

regarding the technique book 'authored' by spessivtseva, my copy - acquired on ebay over a year ago - is a 95 p. paperback production called: TECHNIQUE FOR THE BALLET ARTISTE, with an introduction by Anton Dolin. first published in 67, my paperback is a '78 reprint. the daily exercises included in this slender vol. were written, according to dolin, around july '63 after a few years of searching for some actual, older notebooks seemingly housed but not found in the archives of the paris opera.

#10 atm711

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 03:50 AM

NYPL has both 'The Sleeping Ballerina' and the technique book, which I have borrowed.

#11 Swanilda

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Posted 07 February 2006 - 02:12 PM

You should try to get a copy of the video "Portrait of Giselle". I am a huge fan of her also, and there just isn't much written on her. This video shows Dolin coaching Patricia McBride in Giselle (I know, not the most typical thing, but she is quite beauitful) and interviews various famous Giselles. I think Kultur produced it. I got my copy by videotaping a copy of my teachers, though...

#12 innopac

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Posted 02 January 2009 - 08:37 PM

There was a biography of her, quite subjective and personal and mostly dealing with her Western career and its tragic end, by Anton Dolin called "The Sleeping Ballerina". It is likely out of print but might be found through second hand dealers and Amazon.


I have just finished this book and had very mixed feelings... gratitude for any sort of book about Spessivtzeva and frustration from wanting the book to be a more objective and scholarly work than it is. I found the allusions to the "mystery" around Leonard Braun and the suggestion that he may have contributed to Spessivtzeva's breakdown puzzling. (page 72) One would think that the political and economic strains of the time as well as the anguish that comes from being transplanted to another culture would be more significant in such a discussion, let alone the pressures of her later performing career.


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