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Never Far from Dancing: Barbara Newman


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#1 Jane Simpson

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 05:09 AM

This sounds an absolute 'must have' - former dancers (Seymour, Ashley, Alonso, Ananisashvili...) talking about life after dancing, mainly teaching and coaching.

 

There's a review by Paul Arrowsmith on DanceTabs with enough tanatalising extracts to make me go and order it, right now!



#2 Ilona

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 08:43 AM

http://danceviewtime...an-example.html



#3 Helene

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 11:12 AM

I've just started to read this.  Many thanks for your review!



#4 Helene

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 10:56 PM

It's taken me a long time to read this book.  I loved "Striking a Balance," but "Never Far from Dancing" was not nearly as enjoyable: for the most part, it was a catalog of mostly three complaints:  1.  Dancers now have it good  2.  Dancers now don't do things right  3. Current choreography is awful.  (I almost tossed the book in the garbage after reading Desmond Kelly's "We sucked up injuries in my day" rant.)  There were three notable exceptions: Alicia Alonso, Antoinette Sibley, whose voice hasn't changed, and Nina Ananiashvili, who was still dancing and running her company when the last interviews were done.  Ananiashvili was the one who still sounded so live, it was a pleasure and a joy to "hear" her.  For the most part, it was a depressing read.



#5 sandik

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 11:21 PM

I appreciated the historical information, but I agree with Helene that there was a certain amount of "those kids today..."



#6 dirac

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Posted 12 November 2014 - 02:15 PM

I enjoyed it. It’s not as comprehensive or as entertaining as Striking a Balance, true. In part this is because the subject matter has less surface glamour and more grit  – the passing of the years, the challenge of finding work as stimulating and rewarding as the career dancers are forced to give up all too soon, when in most professions they would still be regarded as relatively youthful, the difficulty of sitting in the audience watching someone else dance your roles (and not always so well) and the joys and frustrations of teaching, coaching, and - more rarely - running a company.

I liked Desmond Kelly’s forthrightness. There is indeed an element of “You kids! Get off my lawn!” in what he and others had to say but that doesn’t mean all their observations are necessarily off the mark even when I didn’t agree. Kelly may not always think much of the younger set, but the interview makes clear that he devotes himself to them, and as a teacher he’s talking from the trenches, “pouring water through the sieve,” as Balanchine once wrote to Suzanne Farrell.

I especially enjoyed hearing from Donald MacLeary and Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, and Lynn Seymour tells it the way she sees it, as always. Also Merrill Ashley.

 

Thank you, Jane, for the heads-up about the book. I wouldn't have heard of it otherwise.




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