A review of Dancing on Water: A Life in Ballet, from the Kirov to the ABT by Elena Tchernichova (and Joel Lobenthal) by Robert Gottlieb in the 10 October issue of The New York Review of Books.
By this point in her story we realize that what she had been doing through her years as a student was observing, watching, judging. She was, for instance, reaching conclusions about the Kirov’s ballerinas, most importantly Natalia Dudinskaya, who with her husband, the company’s artistic director, Konstantin Sergeyev, ruled the roost and who with her amazing allegro technique dazzled the world but "knew that she didn’t have the line, the cantilena, for adagio, and so she danced the Shades [in La Bayadère] faster than any other ballerina in history." And in contrast the glorious but ill-starred Alla Shelest: Elena’s page-and-a-half description of Shelest in La Bayadère should be required reading for every dancer who assumes the role of Nikiya. We also grow aware of how Dudinskaya (that "inveterate intrigante") managed to block her rival’s career. The Sergeyevs, here as in other accounts, emerge as the Macbeths of the Kirov.