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Tuesday, September 29


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An interview with Anne Searcy, the author of “Ballet in the Cold War: A Soviet-American Exchange.”


Your story begins in 1959 at Madison Square Gardens: A Bolshoi Ballet dancer performs a dramatic sideways leap toward her partner — “arms flung out in front, feet pointed behind her” — bringing gasps, then cheers from the audience. What caused that reaction? And why did you choose to start there?

Anne Searcy: I started with that moment, even though it isn’t from a famous ballet, because it made such an impression on the audience. When I interviewed Judith Zinsser, who as a child was in the audience for that performance, this was the experience that she remembered very vividly. I’ve also seen tapes of Lapauri and Struchkova [the two Soviet dancers] performing that number, and it is astonishing. You just don’t believe that he’s going to catch her, and there’s a very visceral sense of relief when he does....


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