Favorite books by dancers
Posted 14 May 2002 - 11:13 AM
Posted 14 May 2002 - 12:06 PM
I only read Kirkland's book fairly recently, and it was quite interesting to get the "real" or somewhat-real scoop on events I'd experienced as a member of the audience or dance press. I remember waiting for hours and hours at Studio 54 (after it was no longer a cool place) for Kirkland to arrive for a press conference/reception, at which she never arrived, or only long after I'd given up and gone home. I certainly never dreamed at the time that her new "manager" at that time was actually more of a drug connection (according to her book!). And here I had been feeling sorry for the poor guy having to manage such a notoriously flaky charge.
However much one might say Kirkland's problems were of her own making, and deplore her for not pointing the finger at herself, some of the episodes related were harrowing enough to make me feel sympathetic for her regardless of the "blame." And let's not forget that she was one of the finest dancers to ever tread onstage -- even in the blurry, silent, bootlegged films of her you can see only at the Dance Research Collection, her amazing artistry is unmistakeable.
Posted 14 May 2002 - 12:22 PM
I think if you take it as it is, without wondering about how much she was to blame, if she villified certain people or not, the extent of the truth in it etc, it can be read as an interesting story on an interesting life. I think she did have an interesting life, worth reading and indeed writing about even if she gets it wrong.
In the eyes of editors, books have to sell and we all know what the essential ingredients are. So the sensationalism is to be expected as it is an easy trap to fall into when writing on such subjects as drugs, ballet, eating ...or not.
I have yet to see her dance on a video, but this thread has reminded me that I meant to. But all I have heard is that she was very gifted.
I am waiting to get Makarova's book from the libary, is it good? I have heard that she talks extensively on the conflict of flexibility against strength (something I have to work on, flexible but not so strong).
Posted 14 May 2002 - 04:28 PM
Posted 15 May 2002 - 09:30 AM
Posted 15 May 2002 - 01:35 PM
Posted 15 May 2002 - 02:23 PM
No story is ever completely true, it cannot be. the truth is always diluted to some extent to suit the author wether it be for personal reasons, money, pride, popularity, or any number of things. Every story is second hand and never reliable.
Posted 15 May 2002 - 07:12 PM
Today, with tickets running $30 or $50 a pop, I am much more selective.
Similarly with books. Kirkland chose to betray confidences and compromise friendships in order to maximize her profits.
I've never read her book, I have no plans to do so (the reviews were more than enough) and I have lost all respect for her. Talent excuses neither crude vegeance nor criminal excess.
Posted 16 May 2002 - 04:23 PM
Alice Patelson was at SAB from 1964 to 1970, and in the NYCB corps from 1970 to 1975. Her career was marked by knee, foot, hip, and back injuries, and was finally ended by what she describes as "muscle weakness." She was unable put on her coat or move a chair without assistance, despite a month's stay at a rehabilitation hospital. During her NYCB days, she had a mild and inconclusive flirtation with a dancer she calls Ted, and after she had to stop dancing, she hit it off with an anonymous professor from her unidentified college. This is how the book ends: "He was thirty-five and was eight years older than myself. I felt that he was a mature and sensitive man. While we were dining and talking, an overwhelming feeling came over me, and this evening turned out to be the beginning of a love affair that was to last for many years."
Alice's father and uncle ran the Joseph Patelson Music House behind Carnegie Hall. George Balanchine was a customer. That's all we're told. While she was at NYCB, Balanchine talked to her a few times, smiled at her, and was always understanding when she couldn't dance because of her injuries. Violette Verdy was nice to her. So was Peter Martins, then a recent addition to the company. She admired the recently-returned Suzanne Farrell. In short, this book, Portrait of a Dancer, Memories of Balanchine, is singularly unrevealing. As set down here, there's nothing individual, unusual, surprising, or even particularly interesting about Alice's experiences in class, rehearsal, onstage, or at home. It was published by Vantage Press, a vanity publisher.
Posted 17 May 2002 - 05:32 AM
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