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I have been reading some biographical type books about ballet just lately and I thought it may be nice to have a thread where we share thoughts on the various books out there?  Some books are also hard to come by so this be a place where we can exchange info about where to find books or arrange a loan or swap etc...

 

The first book I read was "Balanchine and The Lost Muse, Revolution and the Making of a Choreographer" by Elizabeth Kendall which I got cheap 2nd hand on Ebay (my go to place for books!)  

This was an interesting read starting from George Balanchine's childhood and education in St Petersburg and going up to his early 20s.  It also looks at Lidochka Ivanova who was his peer but she sadly died in somewhat mysterious circumstances.  This book is best read before the Gottlieb book about Balanchine as it predates his life in that second book which I have got here to read.    As a consequence of reading this book I have ordered a book about Danilova but it has yet to turn up (ordered in November!) I hope it does come.  I am also on the hunt for a cheap copy of "I, Maya Plisetskaya".

 

The second book I read was "Agony and Ecstasy: My Life in Dance" by Daria Klimentova.  It was a nice book to read - an easy read - and contains a fascinating chronology of all the performances Daria did and with whom.  It was interesting to read what it was like working under different Directors and with different dance partners and I was quite surprised at some of what I read.

 

Then I read Margot Fonteyn's Autobiography - this was also an interesting read although I wished it had more about Nureyev in it. I found the chapters about her married life a bit tedious as I just wanted to know about the ballet side of her life!  

 

I would love to hear about other books you may have read about dancers or ballet in general.  

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I've just read a novel by Kathryn Craft called The Art of Falling.  It's about a dancer who has had a serious accident and her road to recovery alongside the people she meets.  

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I enjoy reading dance biographies and autobiographies, and over the years have read quite a few. Among my favourites are Dancing on My Grave, the first of Gelsey Kirkland’s two autobiographies, Nijinsky, a biography written by his wife,Romola Nijinsky, Nureyev biographies by both Peter Watson and Diane Soloway. Different Drummer, a comprehensive biography of Kenneth Macmillan, Lynn, Lynn Seymour’s autobiography, two meaty biographies of Ashton & Fonteyn: Secret Muses, the life of Frederick Ashton  by Julie Kavanagh and Margot Fonteyn by Meredith Daneman, Dancing Away, Deborah Bull’s account of the period when the Royal Opera House was closed for redevelopment Wrights and Wrongs, Sir Peter Wright’s refreshingly frank autobiography, Diaghilev by Richard Buckle and Hope in a Ballet Shoe, Michaela DePrince’s uplifting story, co-written with her Mum.

Edited by Odyssey
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4 hours ago, Jan McNulty said:

There's an ongoing suggestions thread in Doing Dance that may have some interesting reading tips:

 

 

 

Not only that, but if you click on the "books" tag I've added you'll find there are up to 14 related threads :)

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On 03/01/2021 at 22:52, Odyssey said:

I enjoy reading dance biographies and autobiographies, and over the years have read quite a few. Among my favourites are Dancing on My Grave, the first of Gelsey Kirkland’s two autobiographies, Nijinsky, a biography written by his wife,Romola Nijinsky, Nureyev biographies by both Peter Watson and Diane Soloway. Different Drummer, a comprehensive biography of Kenneth Macmillan, Lynn, Lynn Seymour’s autobiography, two meaty biographies of Ashton & Fonteyn: Secret Muses, the life of Frederick Ashton  by Julie Kavanagh and Margot Fonteyn by Meredith Daneman, Dancing Away, Deborah Bull’s account of the period when the Royal Opera House was closed for redevelopment Wrights and Wrongs, Sir Peter Wright’s refreshingly frank autobiography, Diaghilev by Richard Buckle and Hope in a Ballet Shoe, Michaela DePrince’s uplifting story, co-written with her Mum.

Thank you for all these suggestions! 

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