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What book about ballet do you want to see in print?


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29 replies to this topic

#1 Catherine

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 01:41 PM

I'm just curious, as I work on a manuscript right now, what most people would like to read about that is not already out there. Nureyev and the entire Diaghilev era seem quite well covered. How interested are people in reading detailed biographies of other Russian dancers that haven't been published yet in English? Or in specific trends in Russian ballet? (I ask about Russia as it is my personal area of interest and focus but it could be any geographical area or person or company). Is there something that hasn't been written about and you think should be?

Please feel free to share your thoughts.

#2 Alexandra

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 02:18 PM

Good question,, Catherine! I think the most basic book that's missing, in English, is a biography of Petipa. It astounds me that therre isn't one. (One could imagine at least six books on Petipa, but I'll be happy with a biography.)

#3 bart

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 03:07 PM

Are there any serious biographies of Petipa in Russian -- or ANY non-English language for that matter? I'm thinking of something that combines familiarity with the works, the life, and the social context. I would think that there would be a serious international market for such a work.

#4 Catherine

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 03:31 PM

Are there any serious biographies of Petipa in Russian -- or ANY non-English language for that matter? I'm thinking of something that combines familiarity with the works, the life, and the social context. I would think that there would be a serious international market for such a work.


Hmmm... Interesting. The only thing I've found related to this is something that Lynn Garafola apparently translated:
http://openlibrary.o...f_Marius_Petipa.

However I've never seen it on sale anywhere; and Amazon does not carry it. There are some German source materials and French of Petipa's diaries. And, from what I found at the Theatrical LIbrary (in St Petersburg), there are TONS of Russian-language source materials, and quite likely more than a few about Petipa, although probably not his own since his Russian was questionable at best... OK I like this idea.

Anyone else? :-)

#5 Alexandra

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 04:23 PM

Re Petipa, I think what you've referenced is a translation of about 2 years of his diary, when he was an old, old man.

#6 Catherine

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 07:00 PM

Alexandra, I think you're right, I don't think it is comprehensive.

I just found this on Amazon, which was apparently published in June of this year in its first paperback version:

Russian Ballet Master: the Memoirs of Marius Petipa by Marius Petipa, Lillian Moore, and Helen Whitaker (Paperback - Jun 22, 2009)
http://www.amazon.co...e...5474&sr=8-1.

I've never heard of Whitaker before, so I have no idea about the quality of the translation.

I'm curious about this now as well: you would think that by this time we would have LONG ago had a full English edition of his memoirs or diaries or even a thorough biography in English... If there isn't a source out there, I'm willing to do the work and get it done :-)....

#7 Alexandra

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 09:13 PM

Catherine, I read those memoires this summer and loved them. They've been around for ages (I think the original publication date was 1969, but that's ffrom memory and my book is at school), but I had never run across them until the reissue. You really get a sense of Petipa as a young man, a bit of a braggard, and good storyteller. Lillian Moore's notes make necessary corrections and amendations. It's nice, but not a full biography.

#8 perky

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Posted 20 November 2009 - 05:46 AM

I would like to read a book on the Soviet era dance world.
Now that it's over and some of the key players are dead perhaps we could get a true and intimate accounting?
We know of some artists who suffered under that regime, how many more suffered that we don't know about? Who cooperated and advanced in their career? It sounds like a complicated byzantine web and I think it would be fascinating to read about.

#9 Catherine

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Posted 20 November 2009 - 08:59 AM

Thanks Alexandra - it sounds like a worthwhile read. But also like a thorough compendium is still missing. THat is what so suprised me when I finally hit the library in St. Petersburg -- all these articles that Americans (or Europeans) have never seen translated. Just a wealth of information, truly. And why? The wall has been down for more than a decade now, and even under the Communist regime people did enter/exit the country. A visa is a matter of money at this point, nothing more. It just surprises me that this sort of thing hasn't already been covered several times over.

Thanks perky. That is an era of great interest to me as well! :-)

#10 Alexandra

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Posted 20 November 2009 - 01:27 PM

Well, Catherine, get busy! :wink:

#11 Catherine

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Posted 20 November 2009 - 02:20 PM

Will do! :wink:

#12 leonid17

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 06:40 AM

Are there any serious biographies of Petipa in Russian -- or ANY non-English language for that matter? I'm thinking of something that combines familiarity with the works, the life, and the social context. I would think that there would be a serious international market for such a work.


Hmmm... Interesting. The only thing I've found related to this is something that Lynn Garafola apparently translated:
http://openlibrary.o...f_Marius_Petipa.

However I've never seen it on sale anywhere; and Amazon does not carry it. There are some German source materials and French of Petipa's diaries. And, from what I found at the Theatrical LIbrary (in St Petersburg), there are TONS of Russian-language source materials, and quite likely more than a few about Petipa, although probably not his own since his Russian was questionable at best... OK I like this idea.

Anyone else? :-)


I have tried a host of second hand and antiquarian bookshops with no luck. I suggest for anyone interested that they put in a request for it via their local library assuming that it is a participants in a larger library system.

#13 bart

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 07:29 AM

I would like to read a book on the Soviet era dance world.
Now that it's over and some of the key players are dead perhaps we could get a true and intimate accounting?
We know of some artists who suffered under that regime, how many more suffered that we don't know about? Who cooperated and advanced in their career? It sounds like a complicated byzantine web and I think it would be fascinating to read about.

That would be a fascinating project. And very daunting, I imagine. The current Russian government seems to have put a lock on some of the Soviet archival material that was open during the initial thaw. Would that attitude also cover cultural "politics," I wonder?

#14 Catherine

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 09:37 AM

What information has been locked, Leonid? That has not been an issue these past 5 yrs for me...

#15 innopac

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 11:23 AM

Are there any serious biographies of Petipa in Russian -- or ANY non-English language for that matter? I'm thinking of something that combines familiarity with the works, the life, and the social context. I would think that there would be a serious international market for such a work.

From Roland John Wiley's website:


Interests and Current Research
Wiley's research interests are Russian music and ballet within the context of 19th-century music; his current projects are a life and works of Tchaikovsky and a study of the choreographer Marius Petipa.




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