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"Choura: the Memoirs of Alexandra Danilova"

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So i just finished it, and man...was it great to swallow...i practically devoured it!...

What a great character.. :)

Oh, BTW, here is a fragment that i had to laugh about when i read it. It was like if she was reading my thoughts.

"Twyla Tharp, for instance-people tell me how inventive she is, but i don't see it. What did she invent? She made a ballet with Jerome Robbins for the NYCB, and to me it is chaos. There is no design. One person does one thing, another person does another, a third person does a third...Apparently, there are people who find all this activity going on at once exhilarating, but i am not excited by it. It makes me mad. The dancers were not partnered, they were dragged around the stage by the armpits. I watch it and think to myself. Is it worth to do battements tendus and perspire every day in order to be able to do this? I think break dancers on the street are more interesting, because at least they have their own style"

Was Mme. having a premonition or a vision of "Night-pot" ?

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I'm definitely with you on this one . I read this last year after finding it in a second hand Bookshop and remembering her name from Ballet Russe film. She was indeed a great character. Also the times are so richly revealed - the history of the first half of the 20th century - made clearer by being seen through her eyes.

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So i just finished it, and man...was it great to swallow...i practically devoured it!...

What a great character.. :thumbsup:

Terrific recommendation. I put in an order and am only sorry to see it's 200 pages long. It sounds like she had a dramatic life--from Russia to Europe to the US.

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I am reading it now and zipping through it -- it flies to the very top of the ballet autobiography charts, in my opinion, along with Tamara Karsavina's Theatre Street. Both of them so vividly describe their childhoods. Danilova's childhood seems almost unbearable, with everyone close to her dying before she even reached her teens. Her memories of the Academy are priceless, as are her memories of the Ballet Russes. She comes across as strong, opinionated, resilient. I can't recommend it enough.

One interesting tidbit: Danilova mentions that in the Nutcracker Balanchine was always given the "candy cane" variation. I assume that's part of the original Ivanov choreography?

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Cristian, now that Danilova has joined you on the Tharp-has-no-clothes bandwagon, I am forced to surrender. :dunno: I am now willing to admit that ... Nightspot was not worth doing, was a big waste of money, and certainly will not survive.

(I was getting lonely being the only one on Ballet Talk to defend it.) :helpsmilie:

But you (and Canbelto) did get me to order Choura from Amazon. :o (I clicked the box above and helped Ballet Talk).

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I also recently finished her autobiography and like the rest of you, completed it in a day or so. I found it so intriguing and candid! Her personality really came through the pages and I felt as if I were listening to her recall her life and times sitting next to her in a coffeeshop. I'd love to re-read it soon!

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Did you see The Turning Point? She was playing herself. She was just like that. And she would "hold court", particularly with male students, and share just those stories with all of us.

"I remember when I was little girl, Petipa, he say to me..."

"Shoura, Petipa died when you were six years old!"

"Did he? Well, maybe was Lopukhov...."

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Just got my copy -- in near-mint condition and with lots of wonderfully reproduced photographs, including 2 of my favorites, the profile pose in Mozartiana (with the white ostrich plume atop her head) and a similar, though more dramatic Firebird, with long feathers. Her face in profile is iconic and her legs are ... astonishing! :off topic:

I ordered this from an Amazon Marketplace Seller and got a really nice note along with the book:

I had the privilege of seeing Danilova very late in her career dance Madronos with Mia Slavenska and Frederic Franklin. It was, of course, only a character role, but what a thrill it was to see her.

I had a teacher whose daughter was studying with Danilova and it was such fun to hear all the wonderful stories.

Not only was the book in beautiful shape, it was lovingly packed and accompanied by a detailed, first-rate description of condition.

Buying a ballet book and finding that the seller is a real ballet lover: what could be nicer? I'll definitely be looking at her complete list list.

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Contact is ********@bellsouth.net

bart you're not doing the lady any favors by publicly disclosing her email. Sooner or later that address will be scanned by some crawling spambot and she'll end up getting ad infinitum oceans of spam. Better edit that address out! :)

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Chrisk217, thanks for the warning. I have deleted both name and address, as you suggest. My naivity shocks even me. :devil: Nonetheless, it's always a joy to encounter a book seller who knows and cares about the material he or she is selling.

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"I remember when I was little girl, Petipa, he say to me..."

"Shoura, Petipa died when you were six years old!"

"Did he? Well, maybe was Lopukhov...."

:devil:

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Bart, did you see that beautiful pic of Mme. in her Chanel tutu for "Apollo"?...Isn't it beautiful?

Wonderful photo, though I guess I agree with the later decision to switch to a simpler tunic. How about those deaddresses? Those two photos always make me think of publicity shots for an Esther Williams swimming-pool movie.

"I remember when I was little girl, Petipa, he say to me..."

"Shoura, Petipa died when you were six years old!"

"Did he? Well, maybe was Lopukhov...."

:devil:

After a certain age, that particular train of thought has come to sound and quite logical! :huh:

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Bart, did you see that beautiful pic of Mme. in her Chanel tutu for "Apollo"?...Isn't it beautiful?

Wonderful photo, though I guess I agree with the later decision to switch to a simpler tunic. How about those deaddresses? Those two photos always make me think of publicity shots for an Esther Williams swimming-pool movie.

He,he...she says that Chanel felt horror of showing hair...

"I remember when I was little girl, Petipa, he say to me..."

"Shoura, Petipa died when you were six years old!"

"Did he? Well, maybe was Lopukhov...."

:thumbsup:

After a certain age, that particular train of thought has come to sound and quite logical! :huh:

That would my mom's current stage.. :lol: (sorry if you're reading this, mom :blush: )

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I think the last chapter, in which she talks about her pedagogical philosophy, should be required reading for all ballet teachers and students alike. I realized that it was the most valuable part of the book -- she was a real living treasure, who felt it was her duty to impart her training at "Theatre Street" into the SAB students, and also to adapt them to the Balanchine style.

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