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Bravura! Lucia Chase and the American Ballet Theatre

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Leonard Lopate interviews Mr. Ewing and Kevin ("Johnny") McKenzie on his April 28 show about Ewing's book and McKenzie's relationship with Ms. Chase.

Has anyone read the book yet?

WNYC's blurb for the show:

Alex C. Ewing, chancellor emeritus of the North Carolina School of the Arts and former general director of the Joffrey Ballet-- and Lucia Chase's son--and Kevin McKenzie, art director of the America Ballet Theater, discuss the legacy of ballet great Lucia Chase. She brought Nureyev, Bujones, Kirkland, and eventually Baryshnikov to ABT, and, under her leadership, the company worked with such legends as Agnes de Mille, Anthony Tudor, Jerome Robbins, and Twyla Tharp. Alex C. Ewing's book Bravura! Lucia Chase and the American Ballet Theatre combines unique personal insights and his own professional dance and administrative career to tell her story.
Other than getting the chronology a little off (Kirkland joined ABT after Baryshnikov), it misses a detail McKenzie supplied in the program -- that he was her last promotion to principal dancer. He also, somewhat undiplomatically, gives anecdotes that support the rumors circulating near the end of Ms. Chase's term as AD.
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I read the book and thoroughly enjoyed it. Alex Ewing has a very clear-eyed view of his mother. There was one bit of shocking discovery....I knew that Chase had performed Giselle while with Mordkin (there are lots of photos of her in a cellophane-like costume) but I never knew that she danced (?) Aurora in his Sleeping Beauty. All this, after a scant few months of lessons while she was pushing 30. Visions of dollars were probably dancing in Mordkin's head. As one who was nurtured by Lucia Chase's Ballet Theatre I came away with understanding and sympathy for her.

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This discussion serves to confirm what I suspected for years, that Rebekah Harkness was emulating Chase, but almost in reverse. She started as producer/general director and ended up dancing leading roles with her company, but by that time, they were touring Greece and Turkey, far from the prying eyes of New York critics. Chase had started on leading roles with Mordkin, then took on character roles, ending with occasional Very Special Occasions, when she would strut her stuff while administering the company. She was a shrewd judge of how to use her perhaps unique skills set to do the best for her business.

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