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Kyle Froman's "In the Wings:

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I just finished reading Kyle Froman's In the Wings: Behind the Scenes at the New York City Ballet. For anyone who has any interest in a thoughful, reflective, beautifully written story about a day in the life of a dancer, this book is a treasure. The day is one in which Froman will rehearse and perform in the corps of Square Dance, and I will never see that ballet again without having twice the respect for the effort the dancers are making.

While the book seems to have been meant as a picture book -- in the Foreward, Peter Martins writes, "It all started very quietly: one day he showed up for company class with a camera slung over his sweatshirt," -- in my opinion, they are the beautiful bonus to the narrative. They range from straightforward rehearsal photos and shots of dancers before class, to dancers preparing for performances, to dressing room shots, to a few in actual performance. There are also some that are deliberately artful (in the good sense), and some that look deliberately imperfect or shadowy, such as a gorgeous photo of Seth Orza in mid-flight, in focus except for his lead foot.

There are ample photos in this 118-page book. There are several shots of Merrill Ashley and Sean Lavery in rehearsal -- sadly all of those with Jean-Pierre Frohlich are shot from behind -- and the typically odd combinations of rehearsal clothing, in particular an outfit that Nikolaj Hubbe is wearing in rehearsal with Wendy Whelan in Sleeping Beauty. (There's a photo of Jared Angle doing cabrioles, which makes me think I misidentified Benjamin Griffiths' entrance step in Square Dance.) Others identified in captions are Megan LeCrone, Sofiane Sylve, Savannah Lowery, Christian Tworzyanski, Abi Stafford, Sara Mearns, Albert Evans, Max van der Sterre, Dara Johnson, Ellen Bar, Ana Sophia Scheller, Stephen Hanna, Susan Hendl, Andrew Veyette, Miranda Weese, Marika Anderson, Maria Kowrowski, Sterling Hyltin, Rosemary Dunleavy, Sebastien Marcovici, Janie Taylor, Ask la Cour, Rebecca Krohn, Ashley, Laracey, Yvonne Bouree, Peter Martins, Austin Laurent, Craig Hall, Daniel Ullbricht, Edward Liang, Adrian Danchig-Waring, Jenny Somogyi, Rachel Piskin, Sean Suozzi, Lauren King, Glenn Keenan, Aaron Severini, Carla Korbes, Damien Woetzel, Jason Fowler, Teresa Reichlen, Gwyneth Muller, Saskia Beskow, Charles Askegard, Mika Melamed Hadani, Megan Fairchild, Elizabeth Walker, Amanda Edge, Rachel Rutherford, and Troy Schumacher. Some dancers I've seen; other's I know only from reviews on this site, and it was a pleasure putting faces to the names.

One of my favorite photo sections, though, was in the chapter "11:30 A.M," devoted to the physical therapy room. I found the shot of "Marika Molnar's hands" the most moving one in the book.

I highly recommend this book well beyond the NYCB audience.

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