Neryssa

Jacques D'Amboise: Memoirs

116 posts in this topic

Some related Events in Boston:

http://www.brooklinebooksmith.com/events/mainevent.html - Friday March 25th, Brookline Booksmith, Jacques d'Amboise will discuss his memoir.

March 25th - Wheelock Theatre - 5:30pm - onstage interview of Jacques d'Amboise by Jared Bowen (WGBH) followed by Q&A & book signing. For more information call: 617-879-2147. The Wheelock Family Theatre is located at 200 The Riverway in the Fenway area of Boston.

Share this post


Link to post

From Macaulay's review in the NY Times:

Balanchine is foremost among the artists remembered in this memoir, but d’Amboise also mentions Frederick Ashton, Antony Tudor, Jerome Robbins, Michael Kidd, Lew Christensen, Merce Cunningham, John Cranko, Martha Graham. “They were my mentors, teachers and choreographers,” he writes (though it’s never clear how Graham worked with him).

Perhaps Mr. D'Amboise wasn't clear in stating how he worked with Graham, but does Macaulay not know how to use a search engine? I am certain that there is a chance that he didn't dance in the movement Graham created, however he may observed rehearsals even so. :innocent:

Episodes

Music:

Symphony, Op. 21; Five Pieces, Op. 10; Concerto, Op. 24; Ricercata in Six Voices from Bach's Musical Offering by Anton von Webern

Choreography

George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust

Premiere

May 19, 1959, New York City Ballet, City Center of Music and Drama

Original Cast

Violette Verdy, Diana Adams, Allegra Kent, Melissa Hayden, Jonathan Watts, Jacques d'Amboise, Paul Taylor, Nicholas Magallanes, Francisco Moncion

Average Length

27 min.

Episodes grew out of Balanchine's enthusiasm for Webern's music, to which he had been introduced by Stravinsky. Balanchine wrote that Webern's orchestral music... fills the air like molecules; it is written for atmosphere. The first time I heard it... the music seemed to me like Mozart and Stravinsky, music that can be danced to because it leaves the mind free to "see" the dancing. In listening to composers like Beethoven and Brahms, every listener has his own ideas, paints his own picture of what the music represents.... How can I, a choreographer, try to squeeze a dancing body into a picture that already exists in someone's mind? It simply won't work. But it will with Webern. Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein invited Martha Graham to choreograph a joint work with Balanchine using all of Webern's orchestral pieces. The result was no true collaboration but a work comprised of two separate sections. Graham's contribution, Episodes I, was danced by her company plus four dancers from New York City Ballet. Episodes II, created by Balanchine, was danced by New York City Ballet and Paul Taylor, who was then a dancer in Graham's company. After 1960, Graham's section and the solo variation were no longer performed at New York City Ballet. Anton von Webern (1883-1945), an Austrian, was part of the neoclassical movement in music. He was a musical scholar who adopted and extended Schoenberg's 12-tone method of composing music, which meant basing a composition on a "series" made up from the 12 notes of the chromatic scale arranged so that no note was repeated within the series. Webern became more and more rigorous in his attempt to compress or simplify his own style.

Share this post


Link to post
Perhaps Mr. D'Amboise wasn't clear in stating how he worked with Graham, but does Macaulay not know how to use a search engine? I am certain that there is a chance that he didn't dance in the movement Graham created, however he may observed rehearsals even so. :innocent:

According to Nancy Reynolds' Repertory in Review, D'Amboise danced with Diana Adams in the Five Easy Pieces section of Balanchine's part of the ballet.

Share this post


Link to post

WNYC had Jacques on this a.m. and on this page you can listen to the interview, plus link to other related events (including the Symphony Space event, tonight) and book signings.

Share this post


Link to post

**Spoiler alert** There is a lengthy excerpt on Balanchine's funeral at: http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2011/03/02/jacques-damboise-dancer

Thank you for drawing our attention to that excerpt, Neryssa - it's convinced me to buy the book. The description of Frances Schreuder's presence at the funeral and burial was positively surreal; if the rest of the book is this vivid, it ought to be a page turner.

Share this post


Link to post

Jacques d'Amboise is also speaking at the Los Angeles Downtown library on April 20th. Tickets are free with a reservation: http://www.lfla.org/event-detail/569/Jacques-DAmboise

Thanks for the heads up about the new book. I ran into Mr. D'Amboise last summer at Osipova's debut in Don Q at ABT. I said "Hi" to him and we had the nicest conversation. He was so excited about Osipova's dancing and his enthusiasm was infectious. Can't wait to read the book.

Share this post


Link to post

New review in the Christian Science Monitor. She's very enthused.

(Sorry for my original entry saying it was from the WSJ)

Edited by ViolinConcerto

Share this post


Link to post

I just received my copy of I Was A Dancer ordered through the Amazon link here. The pages are cut in such a way that some pages are wider than others - I bet there's a bookbinding term for this but I don't know it. Anyway a small number of the wider-sized pages are extra wide, almost as if they are not fully bound - yet they do not seem loose. I'm tempted to return the book but I want to start reading today! Have any of you found this in your book?

Share this post


Link to post

i'm not sure how extreme the arrangement seems to you, but my copy of this book is similarly bound, and as you suspect there is likely a bookbinding term for this - if mem. serves it is a 'style' often chosen for Knopf books. I believe Kirstein's NEW YORK CITY BALLET - THIRTY YEARS, among countless other hardcover titles, is so produced.

i think this 'style' makes for an easier time when flipping through the books pages.

i don't think returning the book was gain you, in replacement, something very different, unless as i say, your edition is an extreme version of this method of book production.

Share this post


Link to post

The bookbinding term is deckle edged - to make the book look as if the reader had cut open the pages of a freshly bound book her- or himself. Nice article by C. Max Magee which quotes Italo Calvino on the process:

"The volume's pages are uncut: a first obstacle opposing your impatience. Armed with a good paper knife, you prepare to penetrate its secrets."

webpage is www.millions.com; 5 February 2010: Deckled pages in the age ...

Share this post


Link to post

Fascinating, Quiggin - I learn something new every day at Ballet Alert - thank you and rg too! :thumbsup: My personal preference is "smooth" (non-deckled?)edges. One sharp exacto knife, a son with a steady hand and problem solved. Now, on to the reading....

Share this post


Link to post

My personal preference is "smooth" (non-deckled?)edges. One sharp exacto knife, a son with a steady hand and problem solved. Now, on to the reading....

I bought a collection of old books years agowithout knowing that most of them had uncut, or partially uncut, pages. I did have a paper knife (a.k.a. sharp letter opener) but not, alas, anyone with a "steady hand" to do the work for me Many were the odd-sized pages. But I still have the books.

Llke you, I've ordered d'Amboise's book from the Amazon link on Ballet Alert. It hasn't arrived yet. I'm less worried about the paper edges than about the quality of the photos. The cost-cutting trend in publishing is to print photos on pages with text -- i.e., on non-glossy paper. It's a development I am having a hard time getting used to. Here's hoping that d'Amboise's publishers have taken the old-fashioned route on this.

Share this post


Link to post

I'm afraid you'll be disappointed, Bart. Photos are on the text pages.

Share this post


Link to post

Reading an older friend's report on hearing d'Amboise speak, another friend wrote her, livid. She was there at some events d'Amboise describes (a trip to Paris, I believe) and her recollection of it is completely different than his.

It sounds like d'Amboise may be like Arthur Mitchell - a great raconteur, but I'd double check everything.

Share this post


Link to post

That's true of most memoirs. I'm very much looking forward to this one.

I'm less worried about the paper edges than about the quality of the photos. The cost-cutting trend in publishing is to print photos on pages with text -- i.e., on non-glossy paper.

It's not always a cost-cutting measure. Sometimes it's chosen deliberately so that photographs of people and places are seen in context as they're being discussed, not cordoned off into a stand alone section. It can work well.

Share this post


Link to post

Reading an older friend's report on hearing d'Amboise speak, another friend wrote her, livid. She was there at some events d'Amboise describes (a trip to Paris, I believe) and her recollection of it is completely different than his.

It sounds like d'Amboise may be like Arthur Mitchell - a great raconteur, but I'd double check everything.

This reminds me of a comment Federico Fellini is said to have made about the autobiographical elements in films like Amarcord. It went something like this: When it comes to memory, imagination and telling a good story are more important than accuracy. (Think Proust, rather than Pepys.)

For memoirs, however, or history ... I'm not so sure. Anyway, I'm still looking forward to spending some hours with d'Amboise, when the book arrives.

Share this post


Link to post

People remember different events in different ways in all sincerity, and there's not always a record to check. A good story isn't necessarily a false one, and it can be true in spirit even if the details are off.

Share this post


Link to post

People remember different events in different ways in all sincerity, and there's not always a record to check. A good story isn't necessarily a false one, and it can be true in spirit even if the details are off.

That's all very true and I've seen this kind of varied recollection from different parties at the same event.

To add to the mix, sometimes there are tiny details that were visible to one party and not the other that shaped thier perceptions.

This is very often the case of no one is right and no one is wrong!

Share this post


Link to post

If only Amazon had furnished D'Amboise's book with a Search Inside feature! I have a particular interest in Tanaquil LeClercq and wonder - for those of you have the book - how much space is devoted to her. That aside, at some point I will order the book because it sounds like such a wonderful record of this dancer's life and devotion to his art.

Share this post


Link to post

I haven't read the book through yet, Bonette, having only dipped into those several pages dealing with his sojourn in Hollywood for the making of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, on the occasion of its being shown last night, free!, by Turner Classic Movies in the atmospheric Music Box theater here. (Even Jane Powell was there. At 81, she's quicker in conversation - with Robert Osborne of TCM, not me - than I've ever been at any age. She didn't look her age, either.) But perusing the index, I see LeClercq's name mentioned on a range of about 40-odd pages, scattered some through the book.

Others on the thread have suggested that this is just a bunch of good stories, and the author - there's no formal co-author identified, although half a dozen people are acknowledged for help of different kinds - the author himself says

Anecdotal and episodic, this book is a buffet of stories about the experiences and relationships that shaped me as a person, dancer, and teacher...

but even in the few pages I've read there's an example of more than that:

Dancing in movies was an experience worlds from the ballet. From morning to night in a ballet company, it is dance, dance, perform, perform. In movies... it may use most of the day to do eight takes for one little dance sequence. I found it difficult to sustain enthusiasm when you stop and start, stop and start, and by the end of the day, you've only done a few dance steps. Performing with a ballet company, you're in conversation with the audience, not a camera; it's immediate, and there's no going back to redo, repair, or camouflage... [but] the editor can restructure everything. I felt somehow truth was missing...

As to the absence from the book of his relationship with Balanchine some have commented on, I don't think there was much of one. I think there was one with Kirstein, and I think it's there.

Share this post


Link to post

Thank you so much for that information, Jack. It sounds like a wonderfully entertaining book, full of balletic anecdotes. 40 pages of LeClercq references in one place, albeit scattered, sound good to me! We need a biography - if I were younger and able to do the research, I'd take on the task myself. Thanks again.

Share this post


Link to post

Maybe I should add that there are often other names besides LeClercq's on many of those pages, as well.

Share this post


Link to post

Maybe I should add that there are often other names besides LeClercq's on many of those pages, as well.

Thank you for that. It doesn't surprise me...though I was hoping for a chapter! :beg:

Share this post


Link to post