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Everything posted by Neryssa

  1. One can read a preview of the O'Connor book now on Amazon. It is when she imagines details of Le Clercq's relationship with Balanchine and Robbins at specific times that set my teeth on edge. I liked Amanda Vaill's biography which revealed touching details about the Robbins/Le Clercq relationship through their correspondence (and photographs) and left the rest to the reader's imagination. O'Connor's take on it is disappointing. Anyway, from what little I have read, it is neither horrible nor great...and not particularly moving - yet. I think I could footnote this book if I had it though.
  2. This is a complete misreading of the book! A more accurate take can be found in the Kirkus Reviews review (http://www.kirkusrev...rs-muse/#review), which ends as follows: this is not a novel about victimization or the malevolence of genius, but rather about the painful accommodations all of us make for the things and people we love. Thoughtful, tender and quite gripping, even for readers unfamiliar with the historical events the author sensitively reimagines. Well, now that the book is published, reviewers and readers can interpret and/or deconstruct it to infinity - are you suggesting
  3. Not only is it overused, it's a sort of an awful idea. Agreed! On November 25, 1956 Martin sadly writes this: And, of course, she never was. One never gets over imagining what was lost. Quiggin, thank you for reproducing these reviews. Edited to add: a brief review from the not so prestigious Oprah magazine: http://www.oprah.com/book/The-Masters-Muse And this is what I was afraid of: "...In O'Connor's telling, Le Clercq never got over her forever passionate but only occasionally loving husband; though not always likable, she emerges as a proud but sad woman battered by life and love
  4. [Anyway I hope I haven't contradicted myself too much, but this isn't turning out to be a Penelope Fitzgerald novel on City Ballet - which might have been quite nice - like At Freddies.] I am looking forward to the 3rd edition of The Dimwit's Dictionary: More Than 5,000 Overused Words and Phrases and Alternatives to Them: (it will be published next month). I hope the verb "reinvent" [oneself/herself] is in it. I am SO SICK of writers and entertainment reporters using it. As for Ann Barzel's comments on Le Clercq, I wonder if they are unwarranted. Wasn't Balanchine pushing Le Clercq to dance
  5. Indeed, I've read a few times that the marriage was over and they would have separated in January 1957 had she not contracted polio. O'Connor's breathless delivery really irritates me. To be fair - or rather unfair, anything she says or writes at this point will annoy me. I'll be curious to see what publications review it. P.S. I know I am being critical and bitchy but O'Connor uses the word "crippled" instead of paralyzed or disabled. I don't even recall news reports or friends ever using that verb. Very odd and annoying. I am in a bad mood today; my apologies. I know it's an unfair extra
  6. All Balanchine: Mozart's Symphonie Concertante in E-flat major for Violin, Viola and Orchestra, K.364 - Andante Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings - always gives me chills... Hindemith Four Temperaments Variation 2: Sanguine Of course: Bizet Symphony in C (2nd movement): I think of Allegra Kent and Tanaquil Le Clercq based on films that I have seen. Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice - Of course, I can only think of Suzanne Farrell in Chaconne
  7. Does anybody have access to Publisher's Weekly. Usually I do through my University library. However, I am unable to access it from home for some reason. Here is an excerpt from an article by Varley O'Connor from the March 16 edition: Finding the Truth in Fiction A novelist defends delving into the psyche of famous women By Varley O'Connor Mar 16, 2012 In a recent New York Times T magazine article, Holly Brubach, a writer I admire and a friend of Tanaquil Le Clercq, took umbrage at my audacity for depicting the life of the late great ballerina and fifth wife of George Balanchine in my f
  8. Minor quibble: Le Clercq was not proactive in stimulating O'Connor's imagination. O'Connor projected her own ideas on a fascinating story; obviously, the author was influenced by her father's experience with polio. However, Lobenthal is correct when he discusses Le Clercq's ambivalence. She could have destroyed her personal correspondence and archive as Balanchine instructed Lincoln Kirstein to do with a portion of his papers (from the 1950s?). Anyway, thank god we have the correspondence between Le Clercq and Robbins. It was so touching to read in Amanda Vaill's biography of Robbins.
  9. I don't know what to say: a lot has been published already. Moira Shearer first published rumours about Le Clercq and the canal water in Venice but I always thought that was some kind of urban myth. Reading about that again was painful. Barbara Milberg Fisher briefly mentioned Le Clercq's father (and his drinking) in her literary memoirs In Balanchine's Company. I thought her chapter on Le Clercq's polio was well written and tasteful but I remember feeling devastated after reading it. I thought the implications were enormous; Le Clercq did not develop polio overnight as it is often written
  10. My apologies for being so gauche but I was pleased to learn that she had some romance in her life before, during and after Mr. Balanchine. Anyway, I wonder why O'Connor didn't study the primary sources as in Le Clercq's archive? I wonder if one needs permission.
  11. Wow, great review by Joel Lobenthal: http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/culture/2012/02/5366853/muse-many-faces-ballerina-tanaquil-le-clercqs-life-and-times-and-aft He should write a pictorial biography since he wrote such a great article in Ballet Review.
  12. Thanks nice to read, Neryssa. Has the interview been published? I'd love to read it. I am sorry, kfw. It was actually an interview with him about one of his colleagues in the New York City Ballet during the 1950s. I am collecting interviews for a book (perhaps).
  13. 86 years old is a good age, a long life, fully lived, I imagine. He was very articulate, witty and lively during his interview with me.
  14. I was sad to read this in the NYTimes this morning: http://www.nytimes.c...?ref=obituaries I interviewed Mr. O'Brien a number of years ago and he was delightful. Neryssa
  15. I saw this film several years ago and I don't remember much dancing but a lot of propaganda... I thought Janet Leigh was unbelievably young and fresh-faced. So different from her later persona.
  16. There is an author's note in the book which describes more fully the extent of Ms. O'Connor's research. It includes at least one very important interview with someone who was on the European tour, and this has a major ramification in the book; viewing all of Le Clercq's available performances, both online and at the Lincoln Center Performing Arts Library; viewing hundreds of hours of documentaries and performances relating to Balanchine, his ballet predecessors, Le Clercq, Robbins, etc.; reading almost every book in English related to Le Clercq and Balanchine; Le Clercq's two books; examinatio
  17. I think most of us are quite aware of what literature particularly great literature can achieve - forgive me for thinking that O'Connor's novel will not be listed in the literary canon of this century. I am quite open-minded about novelists such as Mona Simpson writing autobiographical novels (Anywhere But Here) because she is a fine writer but Simpson is really the exception and even she didn't succeed with A Regular Guy which is about her brother Steve Jobs. Just because somebody can write a novel about a particular topic doesn't mean (s)he should. Nothing seems to be off-limits these days,
  18. The third photograph is one of a series of Le Clercq and Balanchine at home during December 1958 taken by Gordon Parks. One can find them at Life magazine photo archives: http://images.google.com/hosted/life/00d95c87a9886b39.html http://images.google.com/hosted/life/06f533941451f398.html Search Balanchine and New York City Ballet for a variety of photographs at: http://images.google.com/hosted/life
  19. Thank you for posting this photo, bart. It is a wonderful photograph and I've always been fascinated by New York literary life during this period. I love the way Donald Windham is gazing at her. I still find Frank O'Hara's poem "Ode to Tanaquil Le Clercq" so haunting: "...and the world holds its breath/to see if you are there, and safe/are you?" I can understand why she was so fascinating to writers and artists including Balanchine. The fact that she was so down to earth and unsentimental about her talent is extraordinary.
  20. I suppose the only thing one can do is: NOT buy such books - maybe not even read, review or mention them; and if one does, point out the inaccuracies and bad literary devices. I wonder if Ms. Brubach's well-intended "Talk" piece will stoke curiosity.
  21. Interesting article in the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.c...lercq.html?_r=1
  22. I would love to see the book proposal. As a member of her "target audience" I agree that the "hard facts" are more interesting than fiction not to mention the imagined facts. Le Clercq's legacy and/or the mystery and aura of her dancing was enhanced by the tragedy of her illness and the privacy that she maintained during her later years. I don't think anyone can taint her legacy so to speak but they can make money from her personal life. Certainly I cannot control that or even insist upon high quality writing but I can be concerned about dubious claims (regarding research). How ironic that O'
  23. That is a good point about the Romantic Ballets, puppytreats (how I love that moniker). I struggle with this issue as a researcher who is ambivalent about publishing the results. I love the famous passage by Jung on the souls of our ancestors: "Moreover, my ancestors' souls are sustained by the atmosphere of the house, since I answer for them the questions that their lives once left behind. I carve out rough answers as best I can. I have even drawn them on the walls. It is as if a silent, greater family, stretching down the centuries, were peopling the house."
  24. Exactly. I am not under the impression that the author has a background in dance history. However, the subject is quite compelling. I will request the book from my library's interlibrary loan in April and post my thoughts here. I thank everyone who contributed to this topic.
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