A Dance Against Time

Overview

A Dance Against Time is the remarkable story of Edward Stierle's meteoric journey to stardom at the Joffrey Ballet. Growing up in a large Catholic working-class family in Florida, Eddie wowed local audiences with his razzle-dazzle tap and jazz routines. But his dream was to become a classical ballet dancer and join one of America's leading companies. As he struggled to succeed, he had to overcome not only the limitations of his short, muscular body, but also the disapproval of his father, the jealousy of his ...
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Overview

A Dance Against Time is the remarkable story of Edward Stierle's meteoric journey to stardom at the Joffrey Ballet. Growing up in a large Catholic working-class family in Florida, Eddie wowed local audiences with his razzle-dazzle tap and jazz routines. But his dream was to become a classical ballet dancer and join one of America's leading companies. As he struggled to succeed, he had to overcome not only the limitations of his short, muscular body, but also the disapproval of his father, the jealousy of his siblings, and the overbearing love of his determined mother. Undeterred, Eddie decided to reinvent himself. While working to transform himself from showman to artist, he was also wrestling with his emerging homosexuality - at the same time the world was slowly realizing the gravity of the AIDS pandemic. At a major international ballet competition, Eddie caught the attention of Robert Joffrey, the celebrated director of the Joffrey Ballet, America's most popular dance company. Performing with the Joffrey, Eddie quickly established himself as its most daring virtuoso dancer, captivating audiences with his exuberance, technical brilliance, and powerful grace. Offstage, he fell into affairs with both men and women. His career was on the rise and the world seemed to be his for the taking. And then, at the age of nineteen, he tested positive for HIV. Even as his health declined and the drama of his family's reaction to his illness intensified, Eddie entered the most creative period of his life, dancing new roles and choreographing his first works. His sense of mortality lent his life urgency and infused his dances with a maturity far beyond his years. Marianne Williamson's spiritual counsel gave him hope. He spent the last month of his life finishing his second ballet for the Joffrey and planning his twenty-third birthday party. Three days after the ballet's world premiere, Eddie died. The first backstage look at the Joffrey Ballet, A Dance Against Time is also t

When ballet master Robert Joffrey invited Eddie Stierle to New York to join the Joffrey Ballet, Eddie took the town and the ballet world by storm. Then, at age 19, Eddie tested positive for HIV. At 23, he was dead. This is a powerful book about creativity, love, and the human spirit, beautifully illustrated with rare, dramatic photographs.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
``When we lose an artist, we're really losing two people: the person and the artist,'' writes journalist Solway, who skillfully demonstrates the significance of the double loss in this biography of Edward Stierle, a gifted Joffrey Ballet dancer and promising choreographer who died of AIDS in 1991 at the age of 23. The book is no elegy but a gripping, unsentimental story of the impact of AIDS on an artist, his family and the dance community. Solway is in full command of the details of Stierle's short life, from his upbringing in Florida by conservative, loving parents to his dance training, sexual experimentation and ongoing quest for fulfillment in a demanding profession. She lets us see the pattern of Stierle's life clearly as a cruelly interrupted upward trajectory. This is also a portrait of a ballet company, with its rivalries, friendships and creative struggles, that offers candid glimpses of company founder Robert Joffrey and his collaborator, choreographer Gerald Arpino. The book should help readers understand not just the troubles of one dancer but the crises-medical, financial, artistic-that afflict a generation of dancers. Photos not seen by PW. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Edward Stierle was a bright, shining light whose untimely death at 23 from AIDS was a great loss. With talent, hard work, and unwavering determination, he transformed himself from the razzle-dazzle dance star of his hometown in Florida to an artist and star of the renowned Joffrey Ballet. Confronted with his medical diagnosis, Stierle went through another transformation: a maturation that added depth to his artistry as well as his personal relationships. He lived long enough to see the Joffrey perform his choreography in Lacrymosa and Empyrean Dances and to read the critics' favorable reviews. Journalist Solway's sensitive and forthright biography is an expansion of a New York Times article. Her account makes the reader think "what might have been," but it also inspires by revealing the power of creativity and family love. Recommended for general collections.-Joan Stahl, National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780671788964
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 2/29/2000
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.82 (w) x 8.74 (h) x 1.05 (d)

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